Japan Cuts Food Self-Sufficiency Target as Trade Deals Expand

March 18, 2015 07:43 AM
Japan Cuts Food Self-Sufficiency Target as Trade Deals Expand

Japan, which imports about 60 percent of its food, cut its self-sufficiency target as the government expands free-trade agreements for economic growth, lowering tariffs on meat and dairy.

The largest Asian buyer of corn, beef and pork lowered the rate to 45 percent by March 2026, the Agriculture Ministry said in an e-mailed report Tuesday. The target, which is reviewed by the government every five years, was reduced from 50 percent set in 2010.

The country reached a free-trade agreement last year with Australia and began cutting tariffs on the third-biggest beef exporter in January in line with the bilateral accord to halve duties on frozen meat by 2032. Japan is negotiating the Trans- Pacific Partnership with the U.S. and 10 other nations as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expands trade-promotion deals.

“We need to make our self-sufficiency target more feasible as the gap between the previous goal and the reality is widening,” Takashi Amou, a director of the ministry’s policy planning division, told reporters in Tokyo.

The production target for food rice was cut to 7.52 million metric tons for the year through March 31, 2026 from 8.59 million tons last fiscal year as Japanese consumption shrank and domestic stockpiles stayed near an 11-year high, the ministry said in the report. The government wants farmers to produce feed rice as an alternative to imported corn and wheat, it said.

The feed-rice output goal was set at 1.1 million tons for the fiscal year 2025-2026, a 10-fold increase from output last fiscal year, according to the ministry.

Japan is the world’s largest importer of corn, buying 15 million tons last year. The U.S. was the biggest supplier to the country with 12.6 million tons, followed by Brazil with 1.3 million tons and Ukraine with 900,749 tons, according to data from the ministry.



To contact the reporter on this story: Aya Takada in Tokyo at atakada2@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ramsey Al-Rikabi at ralrikabi@bloomberg.net Jarrett Banks, Sungwoo Park



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Spell Check

Joo Hau
kentucky city, KY
3/19/2015 03:19 AM

  Hi there.. I would like to know is Japan really import conr from US? Because i always think Japan never accept GMO corn and as i know US only produce GMO corn. Please correct me if i m wrong. Thank you..