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Japan eyes ending tariffs on imports from Asia?
Tokyo, Nov 12, 2004
The Ministry of Agriculture has compiled a plan to abolish or lower tariffs on a wide variety of agricultural imports in an attempt to advance free trade negotiations with the rest of Asia, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun learned Thursday.

Although the ministry plans to exclude rice and some other farm products from tariff elimination, it aims to counter criticism that Japan's insistence on protecting domestic farmers is posing a hurdle to trade negotiations.

The government will likely proclaim that securing agricultural imports from the rest of Asia, given its geographical proximity, will benefit Japan and the rest of Asia from a food security standpoint.

Agriculture Minister Yoshinobu Shimamura on Thursday submitted six-point plans to advance trade talks to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who regards concluding free trade agreements with other Asian nations as one of his priorities. The ministry is expected to officially endorse and publish the plan Friday.

On the other hand, high tariffs levied on some products, such as 490% on rice and 270% on sugar, will be maintained. These goods have been considered sacrosanct for Japan.

The ministry believes that by increasing imports, Japan can contribute to agricultural production in the region.

The country now relies on the U.S. for a quarter of its farm imports and would like to diversify its overseas food sources.
MGR Archive 12.11.2004
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Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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