US Demand for Japanese wagyu beef remains strong this year

TOKYO, March. 27 ― Japan has filled a guaranteed share of the U.S.’s annual tariff rate quota (TRQ) for wagyu beef imports as of March 20, highlighting strong demand for Japanese beef in the U.S.

According to data released by the United States Customs and Border Protection on March 26, Japanese exporters already used up the U.S. 200-ton TRQ of wagyu beef in three months this year.

That was three weeks earlier, compared with last year, which filled the quota on April 10, 2018.

Once Japan hits 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 of tariff per Japanese wagyu beef worth of 10,000 yen till the end of this year, which makes further exports difficult.

But traders say they are not so much concerned at the prospect of Japanese beef exports because strong consumer beef demand is expected to continue in the U.S. even after filling the quota.

The pace of the Japanese beef exports to the U.S. has been accelerating over the years. In 2016, wagyu beef exports filled the quota in November. They filled it in the middle of June 2017.

Japan’s total wagyu beef exports to the U.S. rose 13% to 421 metric tons in 2018, valued at 3.3 billion yen, from a year earlier.

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