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Economy

Japan could cut tariff on US beef to 10%

TOKYO -- Japan and the U.S. are negotiating a deal to lower the Japanese tariff on American beef to around 10% over a period of more than 10 years as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks.

     Under the plan, the current 38.5% import tariff on U.S. beef will gradually be cut to 20% and eventually to 10% or so.

     Tariffs on pork, now higher for cheaper meat, will also be revised. Duties as high as 482 yen ($4.06) per kilogram now imposed on low-priced pork will be revamped into weight-based levies of just tens of yen. And the 4.3% tariff on higher-end pork will be eliminated over the long term.

     In exchange, Japan wants to put in place a safeguard that raises tariffs if beef or pork imports increase sharply. The measure would protect domestic producers from a flood of cheap meat imports.

     Hiroshi Oe, Japan's acting chief negotiator for the TPP, will meet with Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler in Washington from Monday to discuss details.

     Of the key farm product categories Japan has sought to protect, including rice, sugar, pork and beef, the U.S. has placed special focus on opening up the Japanese market for beef and pork.

     Consumers in Japan will likely benefit from lower prices on American meat, but Japanese stock breeders will likely be forced to improve production efficiency.

(Nikkei)

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