Japan – TPP lifts business sentiment, while red meat exports remain on par with last year

08 October 2015


Japanese businesses welcomed news of 12 Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) members reaching agreement, despite strong concerns expressed by an agricultural lobby group (JA Zenchu) in Japan.

Key implications of TPP and Australia’s red meat trade with Japan include:

  • Tariff reduction on beef (fall to 9% over 15 years): while the reduction is significantly greater than Australia gained via the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement (JAEPA), the TPP will also provide the same access to other beef suppliers including the US, New Zealand, Canada, and Mexico.
  • Processed red meat import tariffs applied by Japan will be eliminated within 15 years; the majority of offal tariffs eliminated within 10-15 years; and the tariffs applied to live cattle imports will also be eliminated. These improvements will likely to encourage Japanese businesses to seek new value added trade opportunities with member countries.
  • Besides TPP being one of the most important and significant regional trade deals, it is also reported by the Japanese media as a potential catalyst for Japan’s agricultural reform – one of key initiatives that Prime Minister Abe has set for his government since his inauguration in December 2012. Already anticipating challenging negotiations with concerned producers, Abe has appointed a new Agricultural Minister, Moriyama, who headed the TPP committee in his Liberal Democratic Party.

The timeline of TPP entering into force will be determined by the progress of various steps required by participating countries (Background papers: Implementation timeline by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade).

Australian beef exports to Japan

Australia’s beef exports to Japan in September totalled 24,511 tonnes swt, down 9% from last year, as many traders were reportedly cautious about procuring too much stock while in-market demand remained soft. Changing prices of CL products, influenced by the US FTA quota situation, also made buyers hesitant to commit, according to trade sources. Total beef exports to Japan during January to September this year reached 211,999 tonnes swt, on par with the same time last year.

Sheepmeat exports

Mutton exports in September increased by 60% from a year ago to 404 tonnes swt, however total sheepmeat shipments to Japan in 2015 remains subdued, down 20% to 8,737 tonnes swt (during January to September), comparison with the strong performance in 2014.

Other red meat items (January to September)

  • Beef offal – up 4% year-on-year to 21,461 tonnes swt, underpinned by ongoing yakiniku (Japanese/Korean table top barbecue) and tariff improvement via JAEPA
  • Goatmeat – up 7% to 290 tonnes swt, largely supported by demand from the Okinawa prefecture (most southern island of Japan)

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