Imports of frozen beef from the United States in August dropped 26 percent from a year earlier, following Tokyo’s introduction of a safeguard measure, according to the agriculture ministry.
In response to soaring imports during the April-June period, the government raised the tariff rate for imported frozen beef to 50 percent from 38.5 percent on Aug. 1.
Meanwhile, imports of frozen beef from Australia, the biggest supplier of the product to Japan, jumped 30 percent in August.
As Australia has an economic partnership agreement with Japan, it is not subject to the measures aimed at protecting domestic cattle farmers.
Regarding the drop in U.S. beef imports, an agriculture ministry official said it stemmed from importers’ efforts to step up purchases in July, ahead of the safeguard measure’s introduction.
The official suggested that the impact of the tariff hike was limited.
Still, there is a possibility for the United States to seek a review of the safeguard measure when it holds a bilateral economic dialogue with Japan in October.