EU farmers anticipate Japanese trade deal

A key component of the deal is that 85 percent of tariffs on agricultural imports have been reduced or removed 

A new trade agreement between the European Union and Japan takes effect this winter and should provide an economic boost for EU farmers.

The EU say efforts to reduce the barriers that have restricted agricultural exporters from reaching Japan’s 126 million consumers in the past have paid off.

One of the key components of the deal is that 85 percent of tariffs on agricultural imports have been reduced or removed.

As well, there have been a number of non-tariff barriers that will no longer apply, which will help to minimize red tape and simplify the export process. The EU says this is a particular benefit for small producers.

The EU’s wine industry is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the negotiations with tariffs falling from 15 percent to zero. Not only will this save $200 million for EU producers but will also make EU wines more competitive, allowing them to expand their market share.

However, it is not only tariff reductions that are set to benefit European vineyards. Japan has also agreed to authorize a number of oenological practices that are common in the EU, reducing administrative costs for exporters.

There is also good news for EU livestock producers with pork receiving a boost from a change in the Japanese system of tariffs and beef producers receiving a lift through a reduction in duties.

The previously complex Japanese gate price system is due to be replaced, increasing confidence and certainty amongst European exporters while providing practically free access to the market.

The tariff reduction for beef products will be more gradual but will ultimately lead to a significant drop of 25.5 percent.

“These reductions, making EU imports to Japan considerably more competitive, will open up a new range of opportunities for European producers and will allow the strong reputation of EU agri-food goods to shine through,” the EU said.

Japanese consumers will also be able to enjoy European cheeses at more competitive prices in the future with tariffs on hard cheese gradually dropping to zero over a 15-year period and soft cheese enjoying a new duty-free quota equivalent to the current quantity of European exports.

Many products benefit twice from the agreement with the EU also securing Japanese recognition of more than 200 geographical indications.

This recognition, which protects the traditional know-how of producers, will reassure Japanese consumers that when they buy Camembert de Normandie or a bottle of Chianti, they will be receiving the genuine article. It will also extend the protection available to culturally significant local foods, protecting diversity within the EU.

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