TOKYO -- Japan will permit low import tariffs on about 240,000 tons of American beef as part of the trade negotiations with the U.S., hoping to ink a deal by the end of September, Nikkei has learned.
The quota covers roughly 90% of the amount of American beef that Japan currently imports. Those shipments now face a 38.5% tariff, but the rate would fall gradually to 9% by fiscal 2033. The quota itself eventually would rise to 290,000 tons.
If Washington and Tokyo sign a trade deal before the end of 2019, Japan could reduce the tariff to 26.6% in the first year to match the rate applied to countries in the regional Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. The tariff rate already is declining for TPP members.
To mitigate the impact on domestic producers, Japan will set a safeguard to prevent a surge in shipments. Japanese beef exports to the U.S. will be eligible for lower tariffs as well.
Tokyo negotiated a low-tariff quota of 600,000 tons for beef imports covering members of the TPP, a figure that remained intact even after the U.S. withdrew from the framework. The additional quota granted to the U.S. means up to 840,000 tons of beef entering Japan will enjoy lower tariffs.
Japan hopes to renegotiate the TPP quota, since shipments from Australia and other members came in at 360,000 tons in fiscal 2018, below the TPP quota cap. Tokyo aims for an agreement within three years after its trade deal with the U.S. takes effect, but Australia so far has opposed the idea.