The European Union and Japan have completed negotiations on an economic partnership agreement that will significantly lower tariffs on Japan’s imports of EU pork and beef.
U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) economist Erin Borror explains the red meat trade terms included in the Japan-EU agreement mirror those the U.S. had previously negotiated with Japan under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). For EU pork, the biggest market access gains are for processed products, where tariffs on items such as ground seasoned pork and canned hams (currently 20%) will be phased out over five years. Tariffs on bacon and cured hams (now 8.5%) will be phased to zero over 10 years and Japan’s gate price, which sets a minimum value on these items that has greatly limited trade, will be eliminated by year 12. The EU is currently Japan’s second-largest pork supplier, following the U.S.
Japan’s 38.5% tariff on EU beef will drop initially to 27.5%, then will be phased down to 9% over 15 years. While the EU is not currently a large player in the Japanese beef market, European exporters may be well-positioned to capitalize on expanded opportunities for beef variety meat items such as tongues and skirts. Japan’s tariff rate on these items will drop from 12.8% to 6.4% initially, then will be phased to zero by year 11 for tongues, and by year 13 for skirts.