Japan to cut tariffs on whey for liquid baby formula


The Finance Ministry has decided to cut import tariffs on whey, a basic ingredient of liquid baby formula, in April next year, sources with knowledge of the matter said Wednesday.

The move comes after the health ministry lifted a ban on domestic production and sales of liquid baby formula in August this year. A tariff cut for whey used in liquid baby formula had been requested by the agriculture ministry.

Liquid baby formula is good for use outside the home and as emergency stock, as the ready-to-drink products can be preserved at room temperature for a long time.

The ministry believes that the tariff cut will help promote the use of liquid baby formula in Japan and thus amount to child care support, according to the sources.

A subcommittee of the Council on Customs, Tariff, Foreign Exchange and Other Transactions, an advisory panel to the finance minister, is set to recommend the tariff cut on Tuesday.

The government is expected to adopt a related bill at a Cabinet meeting early next year and submit it during an ordinary session of the Diet.

Currently, a 10 percent tariff is applied to up to 25,000 tons of annual imports of whey for powder baby formula. Imports exceeding the amount are subject to a tariff rate of 29.8 percent plus extra charges of ¥99 to ¥1,023 per kilogram.

Meanwhile, all whey for liquid baby formula is subject to the higher levies. The government plans to include liquid baby formula in the scope of the lower tariff quota from next April.