TOKYO, March 16 ― Japan has ended the simultaneous buy and sell (SBS) tending system to import table rice from Australia for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018, through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the U.S., also known as TPP-11.
The last tender for the fiscal 2018 was held on March 14 and 15, reaching a total of 1,120 metric tons, according to the agriculture ministry.
That was about a half of quota that Australia was given for the first implementation year of the TPP-11, which went into effect on Dec. 30, 2018, with six signatories: Japan, Mexico, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.
From the second year starting April 1, 2019, the rice quota to Australia will increase to 6,000 metric tons.
The Japanese agriculture ministry regularly tenders for rice imports throughout each fiscal year, to fulfill the nation’s annual import commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Japan is obliged to buy 770,000 metric tons of foreign rice each year, and it uses two tendering systems – minimum access and the SBS.
The minimum access tenders account for the majority of Japan’s imports. These initially end up in government warehouses.
And up to 100,000 metric tons can be traded in the existing SBS system and passed to end users, which are largely in the food service sector. The ministry sets the volume for SBS tenders depending on domestic market conditions.