Japan to impose emergency tariffs on US frozen beef


Japan will raise tariffs on frozen beef from the United States and other countries from next month as an emergency measure due to increasing shipments, the government said Friday.

Tariffs will be raised to 50 percent from the current 38.5 percent on frozen beef from the US, Canada and New Zealand until March next year, according to the finance ministry.

Japan introduces emergency tariffs under the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) when the volume of imports grows more than 17 percent on year on a quarterly basis.

The move comes as President Donald Trump, who has vowed to pursue an “America First” trade policy, has urged Japan to increase agricultural imports from the US.

“This measure is automatically imposed,” Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters, according to public broadcaster NHK.

“We’ll explain (it) to the US during Japan-US economic dialogue and other occasions,” he said, referring to high-level talks with Vice President Mike Pence expected later this year.

Farm minister Yuji Yamamoto also said he hopes to “explain to the US carefully.”

The head of the US Meat Export Federation said in a statement on its website that the move will have “negative implications for US beef producers.”

“(It) will also have a significant impact on the Japanese food service industry,” said president and CEO Philip Seng.

“It will be especially difficult for the gyudon beef bowl restaurants,” he said, referring to a popular Japanese beef-on-rice dish.

Frozen beef from Australia is exempt because of its free trade agreement with Japan.


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