Japan will cut the tariff on imported beef to 38.5 percent in the April-June period from the current 50 percent due to a ban on U.S. beef, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said Wednesday.
The tariff-based import curb for frozen beef was instituted in August as the volume of imports surged. A large portion of beef imports used to come from the U.S. before the ban.
Toshiro Shirasu, director general of the ministry’s Agricultural Production Bureau, told the House of Councilors Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, “The government will not invoke” the restrictive measure in the coming period.
As for imported pork, Shirasu said the government will probably not raise officially set standard import prices because the import volume is not likely to reach prescribed levels that would automatically trigger a hike.
The import volume “will not reach levels that would necessitate the invoking (of the import curb) due to high levels of pork inventories, although demand stemming from a possible substitution of pork for beef is in place,” he said.
Under the import curbs for beef and pork, the government monitors the ups and downs in import volumes. Every three months, it can adjust the tariff for beef as well as officially set standard prices for various types of pork.
The government raises the tariff and standard prices when imports surpass prescribed levels.