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Beef industry watching Japan safeguard and increased tariff risk

A livestock market analyst says the beef industry could see an increase in Japan’s import duties on frozen beef.

University of Missouri’s Scott Brown says Japan’s import safeguard provision is triggered when imports during the quarter exceed the year-ago volume by more than 17 percent.

He says all eyes will be on Japan’s import data for June which comes out later this month.  “For us in particular we can talk about a tariff that is about 38.5 percent on frozen beef going in to Japan increasing to 50 percent,” he says.  “That’s enough to get folks attention.”

This comes on the heels of last week’s announcement of an “economic partnership agreement” between the European Union and Japan.

Brown says it puts added pressure on the US to reach a bilateral trade agreement with Japan, because US beef would be less attractive from a price standpoint than some of the global competitors.  “I’m thinking about Australia and Japan and the bilateral agreement that they have reached,” he says.  “Because they no longer are under this frozen safeguard provision.  Their tariff on product remains at 27.2 percent – almost half the level of tariff our product might face.”

He tells Brownfield, if the frozen safeguard is triggered, that will likely mean increased fresh beef imports to Japan, which could then trigger its safeguard as well.

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