Japan’s beef imports surge since TPP-11 takes effect: minister

TOKYO, Jan. 26 ― Japan’s beef imports have surged since the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the U.S., known as TPP-11, went into effect on Dec. 3o, 2018, traders say, illustrating meat exporters enjoy the new mega trade deal in the Japanese market.

Since official data are not yet available, “we don’t know how much the TPP has an impact on a jump in beef imports, but we are keeping an eye on it very closely,” said Agriculture Minister Takamori Yoshikawa at a Jan. 25 press conference.

Under the TPP, the Japanese tariffs on beef will fall to 9 percent, a shift that is expected that Japanese consumers may turn to more meat in a historically fish-eating country.

Yoshikawa declined to comment whether the Japanese government may consider reviewing the TPP’s safeguard provision in the event of a further rise in beef imports.

Japanese farmers have faced an influx of cheap meat imports, as the country’s imports of red meat and poultry were set another new record volume in 2018, suggesting the landmark trade treaty would have knock-on effects for Japanese farming business.

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