The government said Friday it will lift tariffs on all vegetables and most fishery products under the recently sealed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.
Duties on some of the 100 vegetable items will be removed several years after the free trade pact takes effect, Hiroshi Moriyama, minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said at a press conference after a Cabinet meeting.
The Fisheries Agency said separately that tariffs on 350 seafood items, apart from around 10 algae products, will be eliminated under the free trade accord.
The United States, Japan and 10 other Pacific countries reached a broad agreement earlier in the month on establishing a free trade bloc covering 40 percent of the global economy.
Tokyo had sought to keep tariffs on politically sensitive agricultural products such as rice during years of negotiations with the 11 other nations, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand.
Moriyama dismissed concern over the potential negative impact on Japanese farmers from the new trade deal, saying vegetables such as carrots and onions are imported mainly from China, which is not a TPP member, and potatoes cannot be imported in practice due to quarantine requirements.
“We would like to take all possible measures” to support farmers who could face competition from cheaper imports, he said.
In the wake of the new trade deal, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier in the month pledged to carry out steps to bolster the competitive edge of the country’s agricultural sector, which has been heavily protected until now.
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