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International relations

Ill-timed beef duty looms over Japan's talks with Trump

US, a nonmember of the TPP-11, would be tariff hike's only real target

U.S. beef on sale at a supermarket in Tokyo. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)
U.S. beef on sale at a supermarket in Tokyo. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

TOKYO -- Japanese imports of beef are nearing the point of triggering an automatic tariff increase, sparking official unease here over upcoming trade negotiations with the U.S.

Frozen-beef imports rose almost 80% on the year this January in recently released Ministry of Finance data. The surge is attributed mainly to a roughly 80% surge in purchases from Canada, New Zealand and two other members of the 11-country Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP-11, which lowered certain beef tariffs to 27.5% from 38.5% when it took effect in December. The U.S. is not part of the trade deal.

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