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Japan ready to lower pork tariffs for TPP

Kyodo

Japan will review the tariffs it imposes on pork imported from the United States, agreeing to the potentially greater imports Washington has been calling for in bilateral talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to sources close to the matter.

Japan will likely reduce tariffs across a wide range of prices, but how and to what level remains undecided, the sources said.

Pork is one product in five baskets of agricultural products that the Abe administration has declared it would protect and has been one of the greatest sticking points in talks with the U.S.

The two governments aim to bridge outstanding disagreements during bilateral working-level talks slated for Thursday and Friday in Washington, they said.

Japan currently levies tariffs on pork according to three price bands, imposing the highest levies on cheaper pork to block an influx of inexpensive foreign meat.

Japan imposes up to ¥482 per kg on the lowest-priced pork, while high-priced pork is subject to a 4.3 percent tariff. Levies on meat in the mid-range aim to boost its price to not more than ¥550 per kg.

Tokyo is considering lowering tariffs on both low- and high-priced pork, while reviewing the tariff calculations on mid-priced pork, but details have yet to be discussed, the sources said.