TOKYO, Oct. 21 — Japan’s Agriculture Minister Ken Saito has reiterated that Tokyo will not bend to U.S. pressure to review its special safeguard (SSG) mechanism on frozen beef imports.
“Japan has no intention to change its safeguard mechanism,” said Saito at a press conference on Oct. 20.
His comment came after a second round of Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue between Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and Vice President Mike Pence on Oct. 16 ended without a solution over the SSG mechanism.
Under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, Japan has the right to invoke the SSG to restrict frozen beef imports temporarily by raising the tariff from 38.5 percent to 50 percent when imports rise more than 17% year-on-year in any given quarter.
The U.S. and Australia account for nearly 90 percent of Japan’s frozen beef imports, but the measure affects only the United States because it doesn’t have a free trade agreement with Japan.
During the high-level meeting, Tokyo explained that its plan to release monthly import data on frozen beef aimed to restrain traders from importing beef before reaching the limits.
But the U.S. was apparently not convinced by these efforts.