Japan estimates farm output to fall by $2.3 bln from trade deals

TOKYO, Dec. 22 — Japan’s agricultural production value will likely drop by up to 260 billion yen ($2.3 billion), once the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the United States and the Japan-EU free trade agreement take effect, government estimates have showed.

The government on Dec. 21 unveiled estimates of the impacts on agricultural products, whose tariffs are above 10 percent, and domestic production value is more than 1 billion yen, in the two recently signed trade deals.

It concluded that prices of domestic products may fall as the agreements slash tariffs on meat and dairy and other agricultural products that are sensitive to Japanese farmers.

The TPP is likely to reduce agricultural output by between 90 billion and 150 billion yen, while the Japan-EU trade deal may slash it by between 60 billion yen and 110 billion yen, according to the estimates.

At the same time, the government has stressed that agricultural output volume will remain at the same level, as countermeasures will be put in place to cushion the effects of implementing the agreements.

Yet views differ on what impact the trade deals will have on the farming sector.

Some experts have rated the government estimates as too optimistic, saying farmers will face intensifying competition with cheap imports.

Meanwhile, the government expects it will gain in terms of increased economic output by 8 trillion yen per year, or 1.5 percent of GDP, through the TPP without the U.S.

That was down from the 2015 estimates, which would boost Japan’s GDP by 2.6 percent, through the TPP that includes the U.S.

The Japan-EU trade agreement may increase Japan’s GDP by 5 trillion yen annually, or about 1 percent, the government said.

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