Japan May Set Tariff-free Quota for EU Beef Under EPA

JAPAN - Japan is considering setting a tariff-free import quota for beef from European Union member states, as requested by the EU in the two sides’ negotiations on an economic partnership agreement for free trade, informed sources told Jiji Press on Wednesday.
calendar icon 23 June 2017
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The Japan Times reports that according to the sources, the Japanese government believes that the volume of EU beef imports is so small that such a tariff-free quota would have little impact on the domestic beef industry.

EU beef, mainly from France and Poland, accounts for only 0.2 per cent of the total beef supply in Japan.

Japan’s tariffs are currently set at 38.5 per cent for a wide range of foreign beef, including meat from the EU and the United States. The tariff rate now stands below 30 per cent for beef from Australia, which has an EPA with Japan.

While US and Australian produce together accounts for some 90 per cent of Japan’s total beef imports, no tariff-free import quota has been set for beef from the two countries.

In the EPA negotiations, Tokyo is demanding that the EU remove its tariff of over 12.8 per cent on Japanese beef.

Japan’s annual beef exports to the EU are currently as small as about 100 tons, but the popularity of Japanese beef is growing in the region, where Japanese cuisine is catching on.

Japan and the EU are aiming to reach a broad accord on the envisaged EPA next month.

Japan’s overall beef exports came to about 1,900 tons in 2016, up 18.5 per cent from the preceding year, with major export markets including Hong Kong and the United States.

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