Japan is imposing an emergency tariff hike on U.S. beef imports late this week. The volume of imports for the fiscal year 2020 is believed to have exceeded 242,000 metric tons, beyond which the duty hike gets automatically implemented.
If the tariff goes into effect, it jumps from 25.8 percent to 38.5 percent for a month under a bilateral trade agreement that went into effect in January.
Japan’s agricultural minister says the resulting increase in prices for fresh, chilled, and frozen U.S. beef will “not likely have a major impact on consumers.”
The margin of increase will only be in place for 30 days. For the fiscal year 2020, which began in April of last year, Japan’s cumulative U.S. beef imports totaled 233,112 tons at the end of this February. Finance Ministry Data in Japan says the volume total may have surpassed the agreed-upon threshold by early this month.
Japan’s consumption of American beef rose sharply higher because of a drop in beef imports from drought-hit Australia. The Japan Times says when the threshold is reached, the two countries have to start consultations within 10 days to adjust the applicable safeguard trigger, according to their agreement.