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Monday, April 28, 2014

Japan and US reach Trans-Pacific Partnership - but where's the beef?

Japan and the U.S. have reached a basic agreement on April 25, 2014 in their Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations that could provide progress in red meat trade—but so far, any way you slice it, no official declaration has been made.

It's only important because beef and pork were among key five categories of agricultural products involved in the talks.

The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper says that sources state the two sides have agreed to substantially reduced tariffs on U.S. beef exports to Japan by “nine percent or more” from the existing 38.5 percent, over the course of 20 years.

In the meantime, Japan will continue with its gate-price system to protect domestic farmers.

This gate-price system levels tariffs based on price differences between standard Japanese pork and imported pork.

The Yomiuri, however, says that Tokyo will slash its standard domestic price at Washington’s request.
U.S. President Obama's officials did not provide details, but did imply that there was some progress on beef and pork trade:

“The overall outcome was in a number of the products we were able to identify what the path is going to be towards the ultimate resolution,” the official says. “When I say that it means there are various factors that go into market access agreement—the length of time over which a market access barrier might be reduced, which barriers are eliminated and which barriers are reduced and what the relationship is between them, how the market access is structured.  And we went through each one of these products and oftentimes line by line of the tariffs to determine what was the most robust outcome in terms of opening markets for U.S. exports, and to do so in a way where we could secure Japan’s agreement.”

Andrew Joseph

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