The Japanese government will soon impose an emergency tariff hike on U.S. beef imports from the United States later this week as imports for fiscal 2020 have surpassed 242,000 metric tons, government sources said Tuesday.

The emergency tariff hike, if imposed, is based on a rule agreed to under a bilateral trade pact aimed at protecting domestic producers that came into effect in January last year.

If imposed, the tariff would be increased from 25.8 percent to 38.5 percent for a month under the bilateral trade agreement.

Japan’s agriculture minister Kotaro Nogami told a press conference Tuesday that the increase in prices in U.S. beef would have a minimal effect on consumers.

“The resulting increases in prices for fresh, chilled and frozen U.S. beef will not likely have a major impact on consumers,” Nogami said, adding that the hike would only be in place for 30 days.

The two countries would hold talks within 10 days if and when the emergency measures are taken by Japan.

Image: Shutterstock

The last time Japan introduced a safeguard arrangement on U.S. frozen beef imports was in 2017.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit overall beef shipments to Japan for the current fiscal year, but owing to a drop in drought-hit Australian beef imports, U.S. beef imports to Japan have surged to make up for the shortfall.

XINHUA | TOKYO

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