The Yomiuri Shimbun Imports of beef to Japan from countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact have rapidly increased.
The Finance Ministry announced Thursday that Japan imported 32,885 tons of beef last month, up 55 percent from the 21,152 tons imported in January 2018. The effects of the tariff reduction have become visible only a month after the TPP took effect on Dec. 30, 2018.
Following the TPP’s implementation, the import tariff for beef fell from 38.5 percent to 27.5 percent. Among member countries that have completed domestic procedures to ratify the TPP, Japan imported beef from Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand in 2018.
The United States and Australia have thus far accounted for 90 percent of all Japanese beef imports, though the Finance Ministry did not release a breakdown of beef imports by country for last month.
The Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corporation, a Tokyo-based independent administrative agency, noted that the tariff cut of more than 10 percentage points has substantially affected import volumes, adding that beef from TPP member states will become more competitively priced relative to beef from nonmember states such as the United States.
Beef from Canada has attracted particular attention, with prices of Canadian beef falling significantly. The import tariff rate for Australian beef had previously been reduced due to an economic partnership agreement between Japan and Australia.
“The impact of the tariff reduction is especially large for high-end cuts, such as those used for steak. The imports will increase from now on,” said an official in charge for Sojitz Foods Corp., a subsidiary of major trading company Sojitz Corp.
The Japanese office of Canada Beef Inc. said it has received more inquiries after the TPP took effect. The tariff on beef from TPP member countries will further decline to 26.6 percent in April and to 9 percent within 16 years of the TPP’s implementation. The gap will continue to widen between TPP member states and nonmember states such as the United States.Speech