TPP’s beef safeguard faces criticism from Japan’s oppositions

TOKYO, Nov. 2 ― Japan’s farmers as well as the opposition lawmakers have increasingly raised their voices to review a safeguard mechanism for beef imports as well as reduce tariff rate quotas for dairy products, as the U.S. return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is unlikely to happen.

The original TPP represented a mixture of economic and political benefits. But without the U.S., it is not convincing Japanese farmers and opposition lawmakers that the deal aims to influence China.

This necessitates some serious consideration of its costs, they say.

More specifically, they are calling for cutting back new tariff rate quotas (TRQ) for the TPP to be reduced by the amount allocated to the U.S. and change the special safeguard (SSG) criteria.

In the original TPP, Tokyo made key concessions by agreeing to abolish a World Trade Organization (WTO) safeguard mechanism and create a new one, as original TPP’s 12 members including the U.S. were the major beef suppliers to Japan.

The original TPP also included a provision to renegotiate in a case Washington will not likely come back to the TPP.

The revised deal, now known also as the Comprehensive Progressive TPP (CPTPP), would have an annual safeguard measure, making them less likely to be triggered.

Moreover, when the CPTPP enters into force on Dec. 30 this year, Japan’s beef tariff will be reduced from 38.5 percent to 9 percent over 16 years, with a sharp cut being front-loaded.

The CPTPP members include Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Mexico and five other Pacific Rim countries.

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