The 12 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade initiative are planning to hold a ministerial meeting in mid-March, with Singapore emerging as a candidate host country, sources close to the negotiations said Sunday.
Prior to the meeting, the Japanese government has proposed sharply cutting its tariff on a certain amount of U.S pork over a 10-year period in talks with the United States on the Asia-Pacific free trade initiative, sources said.
Tokyo also proposed a safeguard system during ministerial-level negotiations with Washington in September, a measure which will be triggered if pork imports from the United States exceed a quota to be set, they said.
The lower tariff will be applied to the quota Japan plans to set based on the current level of pork imported from the United States, they said.
While the proposal is a sign of Japan’s concession in one of the trade areas involving politically sensitive farm products in talks on the TPP, sources say Washington may pressure Tokyo into setting the low-tariff quota at a level higher than Japan plans to allow.
Japan’s offer pertains to lower-priced pork imports, the sources said. Japan has proposed to incrementally cut its tariff of 482 yen (about $4) per kilogram for such pork from the United States to 50 yen over 10 years.
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