Boom in Japanese wagyu beef exports to US faces high tariff

TOKYO, April 18 — Strong sales of Japanese wagyu beef to the U.S. have made exporters use up tariff rate quota (TRQ) in April, triggering a 26.4 percent out-of-quota tariff rate on exports into the U.S.

Japan reached its 200 metric tons of U.S. annual TRQ as of April 10, according to data released by the United States Customs and Border Protection.

The volume more than doubled, compared with 70 metric tons in April a year earlier. Last year, wagyu beef exports filled the quota in June.

Once Japan hit the quota limit, the U.S. tariff on Japanese beef imports will rise to a 26.4 percent tariff of the export value, from the current rate of 4.4 cents per kilogram.

That means trading companies have to pay about 2,600 yen per Japanese wagyu beef worth of 10,000 yen till the end of this year.

Japanese wagyu beef exports have focused primarily on the hotel and restaurant sector, and the current momentum is likely to continue even they go over quota allocations, traders say.

“Even if we transfer some of the costs to customers, we are certain that the demand will remain strong in the U.S.,” said an official from a Tokyo-based trading company.

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