Asia Minute: Japan Has Beef with U.S. Exports

Aug 2, 2017

Credit Ian Paterson / Geograph

A decision in Japan is sparking some backlash in the United States this week. It’s about trade—and a very specific export from the United States. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Frozen beef from the United States is going to be a little pricier when it’s sold in Japan.

Japan’s Ministry of Finance says the country has already imported so much U.S. frozen beef this year that it’s triggering an emergency tariff.

The additional charge will rise from 38.5% to 50% effective immediately, and lasting at least through next March.

Under the rules of the World Trade Organization, Japan can raise those tariffs when imports rise more than 17 percent from a year earlier during any given quarter.

It’s the first time this mechanism has kicked into action for U.S. beef imports in 14 years.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation says the overall Japanese market for U.S. beef was 1.5 billion dollars last year—with shipments up 42% in the first quarter alone.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue criticized the move saying it “is likely to increase the United States’ overall trade deficit with Japan.”

The tariff only includes those countries lacking a free trade agreement with Japan.

That means Australia is not affected. That country is the main competitor to the United States when it comes to meat exports to Japan.

Australia reached a trade agreement with Japan as part of its negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership – a grouping the United States withdrew from earlier this year.