【Opinion】 Japan-EU EPA turns a blind eye to the future of Japan’s agriculture (July 7)

[By Shinji Hattori, Professor Emeritus of Toyo University] Why didn’t the negotiators of Japan and the European Union take more time before concluding the Economic Partnership Agreement? I would say they did an extremely sloppy job. Japan agreed to set up a low-tariff import quota of 31,000 tons for EU-made soft cheeses. This is such a large amount, exceeding the amount of annual domestic production of natural cheeses for direct consumption. Cheese is one of the few food products whose domestic consumption is growing. Low-tariff import quota will be also set for European butter and skimmed milk powder. The agreement is sure to have a harmful effect on domestic dairy … Continue reading

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Japan and EU agree mutually protecting food names under GI

TOKYO, July 9 — Tokyo and Brussels have agreed to mutually protect their specialty food names under the geographical indications (GI), one of EU’s key offensive interests, in the Japan-EU trade agreement. Both aim to help farmers exclusively market their products. This will be the first case for Japanese specialty food and beverages to be granted full GI protection in the overseas market. GI is a rule that requires products to come from particular geographical areas and meet various quality criteria in order to be called by its name. Once granted, it allows for regional producers to monopolize the use of famous area names, while other producers have to alter … Continue reading

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Japan and EU strike new trade deal, scrapping cheese tariffs

TOKYO, July 7 — Japan and EU have secured a new trade agreement in principle, which would open up the Japanese market to EU’s key farm exports, at a time when US President Donald Trump has taken his country on the inward looking “America First” path. Announcing the agreement, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a press conference in Brussels on July 6, “We were able to demonstrate a strong political will to the effect that Japan and the EU keep the flag of free trade flying high amid rising protectionism. “I hope this will stimulate a debate for the early entry into force of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),” … Continue reading

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Japanese farmers to tackle trade barriers to access EU market

TOKYO, July 9 — Despite an exclusive agricultural market access to the EU in the Japan-EU trade agreement, Japanese farmers still have to tackle non-tariff barriers (NTBs), which is crucial to unlock the potential to boost their exports such as Japanese beef, green tea and dairy products, experts say. NTB refers to restrictions that result from conditions and specific market requirements that make producers to export difficult and costly. In the agreement announced earlier this month, the EU will eliminate 98% of the tariffs on Japanese agricultural food products entering the EU, from the day one of the accord coming into force. Yet, the ability of Japanese agricultural and food … Continue reading

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【Opinion】Full support necessary for Japanese farmers under Japan-EU EPA (July 7)

[By Minoru Morita, political analyst] Japan and the European Union both had their own intentions in trying to come to a political consensus on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. As shown in Britain’s decision to leave the EU, the EU’s idealism is on the verge of collapse, having European politicians on the ropes. To prevent other members from leaving the union, EU negotiators had to take action to expand their sales channels in the strong agriculture sector. They therefore asked for an import quota for soft cheeses and an immediate elimination of tariffs on wine. On the other hand, Japan, whose relationship with the United States has lately been unstable, … Continue reading

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