TPP Countries Gaining Foothold in Japanese Beef Market

Beef producing countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico are gaining greater access into Japan thanks to lowered tariffs, giving those exporters a significant advantage over U.S. beef producers.

In a media report from the Nikkei Asian Review, a Japanese financial publication, it is outlined that the remaining countries in the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement have seen sales of beef to Japan surge.

Japan’s Finance Ministry shares that Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico, all members of TPP, saw January beef imports rise 56% from the previous time last year reaching 33,000 metric tons. Because of TPP, tariff values on beef imports from those countries have dropped 27.5% from 38.5%.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says that buyers in Japan held off on purchasing beef in December to wait until January when tariffs came down, helping fuel the increase in tonnage.

Countries in TPP will likely continue to see access into Japan increase as the agreement is slated to lower tariffs on beef to 9% by 2033.  

The U.S. was originally a founding member of TPP until President Donald Trump formally stepped away from the agreement. Despite this move, the U.S. saw an increase of 21% from the previous January for beef imports into Japan. However, the U.S. also lost 6% of its market share to Japan during this same time.

“We still have a 38.5% duty on U.S. beef going into Japan, while our major competitors through CPTPP or TPP, without the U.S., are now benefiting from reduced tariffs,” says Dan Halstrom, president and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

The Trump administration has expressed interest in negotiating a bilateral trade deal with Japan that could help put U.S. beef producers on a level playing field.

Other countries in TPP include: Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.