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Japan to increase tariffs on U.S. beef

Japan to increase tariffs on U.S. beef

Industry groups aren’t surprised by this move

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Japan is preparing to temporarily increase its tariffs on U.S. beef to slow down import volumes.

If the Japanese government follows through, the tariff will increase from 25.8 percent to 38.5 percent for about one month. The increase could come into effect as early as Thursday, Kyodo News reported.

The higher import costs will “not likely have a major impact on consumers,” Japanese Agriculture Minister Kotaro Nogami said Tuesday.

Japan imposed a similar safeguard on U.S. frozen beef products in August 2017.

And the authority for Japan to increase tariffs is also part of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement the two countries signed in 2019.

Under the agreement, Japan can raise the levies if imports of U.S. beef surpass certain volumes.

In this instance, imports of U.S. beef to Japan are close to exceeding 242,000 metric tons.

U.S. meat industry groups aren’t surprised by Japan’s actions.

“Triggering the beef safeguard is not unexpected,” a U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) spokesperson told in an email. “In fact, based on our 15-year outlook, USMEF projects that without an increase to the safeguard threshold, Japan's imports of U.S. beef are likely to trigger the annual safeguard every year.”

Increasing the tariffs also means representatives from Japan and the U.S. must meet to decide on a new volume limit.

These consultations must take place within 10 days.

“USMEF encourages the two governments to engage in such consultations and make appropriate adjustments to the safeguard threshold. This will help U.S. beef remain on a level tariff playing field in Japan, subject to the same rates as competitors' products, and create a more reasonable and predictable pricing environment for Japanese importers and consumers.”

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