Rice, Other Farm Goods to Be Exempted from RCEP Tariff Cuts

Politics

Tokyo, Nov. 10 (Jiji Press)--Rice, beef and pork, wheat, dairy products and materials for sugar will likely be exempted from tariff cuts or eliminations under the envisaged Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade pact, it was learned Tuesday.

The five agricultural goods categories are sensitive areas for Japan. Fifteen countries negotiating the RCEP, including Japan, China, South Korea and the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, are aiming to reach a broad agreement at their summit talks on Sunday.

Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and the Japan-European Union economic partnership agreement, which went into effect in late 2018 and last year, respectively, the Japanese government avoided drastic market-opening measures for these agricultural products amid strong concerns among domestic farmers over an influx of cheap foreign imports.

The trade liberalization rate for RCEP as a whole, including exports from Japan, is expected to be far lower than 99 pct for the TPP and some 95 pct for the Japan-EU EPA, due to the inclusion of China, which is cautious about market liberalization, and developing countries in the envisioned pact.

Japan hopes to gradually expand tariff cuts and raise the standards of economic rules under RCEP after it takes effect.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press