In response to high levels of beef imports, the Japanese government will increase the duties charged on imported beef, reports the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). “USMEF recognizes that the safeguard will not only have negative implications for U.S. beef producers, but will also have a significant impact on the Japanese foodservice industry,” explained USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng.
Beef imports during the first quarter (April 1-June 30) of Japan’s fiscal year, from the United States and other countries covered under Japan’s “safeguard” mechanism, were large enough (by a margin of just 113 metric tons) to trigger an increase in the duty charged on imports of frozen beef. The rate will increase from 38.5% to 50% for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which runs through March 31, 2018.
Japan was the top export market for U.S. beef in 2016, valued at $1.5 billion. According to data compiled by USMEF, first quarter U.S. beef sales to Japan increased 42% over 2016. In addition to the United States, the 50% safeguard tariff also applies to imports from Canada, New Zealand, and other countries that do not have a free trade agreement with Japan.