Japan Imposes Emergency Tariffs On Imports Of US Frozen Beef

But Japanese media has already described the outcome as ‘inevitable’ quoting sources within Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries

Japan's decision to hike tariffs on frozen beef imports from the United States could disrupt sales and harm trade relations between the two countries, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Friday.

The Japanese government said the move was an emergency measure meant to address the recent surge in shipments into the country.

The increase, from 38.5 percent to 50 percent, will begin August 1, 2017 and last through March 31, 2018.

This type of tariff is known as a safeguard duty: When tariffs on frozen beef in non-EPA countries (again, those who don't have free-trade agreements with Japan) increase by more than 17 percent over a period of a year, Japan implements a tariff increase of their own.

USA exports of beef and beef products to Japan totaled $1.5 billion previous year, making it the United States' top market. It would also negatively affect Japanese consumers by raising prices and limiting their access to high-quality USA frozen beef. That includes the US, the second-biggest foreign supplier of beef in Japan after Australia, as well as Canada and New Zealand.

"U.S. beef needs all the demand it can get", said John Nalivka, president of industry research firm Sterling Marketing.

"It will be especially hard for the gyudon beef bowl restaurants", he said, referring to a popular Japanese beef-on-rice dish.

The usual tariff rate for frozen beef imports is 38.5%.

The move, the first such step in 14 years involving beef, comes after President Donald Trump named Japan as one of the countries contributing to the USA trade deficit. "We will also continue to pursue all opportunities to address the safeguard situation by encouraging the USA and Japanese governments to reach a mutually beneficial resolution to this issue".

No safeguard or increase will be triggered for chilled beef imports as the volumes did not exceed the required level.

The Finance Ministry reported 89,253 metric tons of frozen beef were imported so far this year.

He continued, "It would also negatively affect Japanese consumers by raising prices and limiting their access to high-quality US frozen beef".

"The implications for US beef exports are significant because USA frozen beef now faces an even wider tariff disadvantage compared to Australian beef", USMEF said.

Trade terms Japan negotiated with the 10 other remaining members of the TPP remain in force.

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