[7 August/ Farmers Weekly]

Japan virtually overnight increased tariffs on frozen beef imports from New Zealand from 38.5 percent to 50 percent effective for eight months from August 1. Japan’s move was in attempt to divert imports away to protect its beef farmers, particularly after the US had increased the volumes of middle cuts and a main forequarter cut. Australia had over 54 percent of the Japanese market and the US just over 38 percent, however, this year the US had increased to 42 percent at Australia’s expense. The Australia had an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Japan, giving it preferential and significantly lower tariff treatment was unaffected by the action. Greenlea Premier Meats Managing Director and a Meat Industry Association Director, Tony Egan said it puts New Zealand at a disadvantage to Australia and makes it hard to be viable in that market without achieving price increases.