Japan’s LDP presses gov’t to keep farm tariffs in JP-EU deals

TOKYO, July 1 — Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has given a set of final recommendations to the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, seen as a last chance to press for keeping tariffs for sensitive agricultural products, before Japan and the EU’s sealing an overall trade deal.

Meanwhile, Japan and EU held a ministerial meeting in Tokyo on the same day, June 30.

Agriculture Minister Yuji Yamamoto met EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to resolve key outstanding issues such as Japanese agriculture market access.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was to meet with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Council President Donald Tusk in Brussels on July 6 to forge a political agreement over their trade talks.

In their recommendations, LDP members emphasized that Japan must maintain tariffs and border measures for agricultural products that are import-sensitive, such as pork and dairy.

Specifically, they called on the government to note that Japan has just begun to implement a blueprint for strengthening agricultural competitiveness, while Europe has strong competitiveness in the agriculture sector.

Negotiators also called for the establishment of a framework to boost Japanese food exports to European markets.

It includes the mutual recognition of food products protected by geographical indications (GIs) and a resolution to address regulatory issues.

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