Australia is set to increase its beef exports to Japan following a trade deal between the two countries, grabbing a portion of the US market and piling pressure on the United States to pursue its own agreement.
Australia struck a deal with Japan on Monday, which allows the two countries to export to each other on reduced import tariffs. Australian beef producers and Japanese car exporters are expected to benefit the most from the new arrangement.
“Australian beef exports to Japan should rise. The tariffs on Australian beef will be 8 percent lower than on U.S. supplies immediately and will get progressively lower over a number of years,” Vyanne Lai, an agricultural economist with National Australia Bank is quoted by Reuters as saying.
Official statistics show that Japan is the largest market for Australia’s beef exports, which constitute more than a third of the country’s total ($3.52 billion or 3.8 billion Australian dollars) exports to Japan.
Almost 50% of all Japanese beef imports come from Australia. The Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences of Australia projects that the country will sell about 280,000 tonnes of beef in Japan over 2013/2014.
As Bloomberg reports, the new agreement will give Australian beef exporters leverage over their US counterparts in a Japanese market valued at 267 billion yen or $2.6 billion, according to statistics by Tokyo-based Marubeni Research Institute.
Painting a gloomy picture of US beef shipments to Japan, the country’s ministry of agriculture said that American beef exporters stand to shed up to 80% of their market share in Japan unless the US government closes an equal deal.
Japan’s Economy Minister Akira Amari said the country and Australia had reached a mutually satisfactory general agreement and hoped that TPP talks with the US would take place quicker, referring to the 12-nation negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
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