【News】 Japan-EU EPA negotiations to focus on import tariff cuts for European cheese and pork (Dec. 15, 2016)


The Japanese government confirmed its decision that it would liberalize a part of agricultural trade in negotiations over the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement or EPA by reducing import tariffs of farm products down to the similar level agreed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade pact.

It is suspected that import tariff cuts exceeding the level of the TPP agreement will be considered for some products.

EU’s negotiators are demanding the Japanese counterparts to liberalize imports of cheese and pork more than the level of the TPP free trade deal.

According to sources near to the negotiators, the Japanese government will consider how to make a compromise in the agricultural sector specifically by opening markets of farm products as much as they agreed in the TPP free trade negotiations, or by rearranging tariff cuts of certain commodities so as to provide EU with market accesses “at the same level as TPP in total”.

Japan agreed to liberalize its agricultural market to an unprecedentedly higher level by eliminating import tariffs on 82 percent of agricultural products, including some major farm commodities, in the TPP trade deal.

Japanese negotiators plan to reach a general agreement with EU at a cabinet level meeting to be held by the end of December.

Within a framework of the general agreement, they hope, the two bodies will be successful in resolving “sensitive issues with political judgements” in the key fields of the EPA negotiations.

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