Information derived from USDA newsletter
On December 8, 2017, Japan and the European Union (EU) announced the finalization of negotiations on the Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). One major outcome is that the agreement will eliminate, or sharply reduce, duties on agricultural products in which the EU has a major export interest, such as pork. Pork is one of the EU’s main agricultural exports to Japan and they are a fierce competitor of the United States. Given that the agreement grants the EU duty-free access for processed pork meat and low-duty access for fresh pork meat exports, it will result in a significant duty disadvantage for U.S. exporters.
The most common type of meat consumed in Japanese households is pork, accounting for almost half of the overall volume of retail meat sales in 2016. Consumption trends are unlikely to change as Japanese consumers continue to shift away from fish towards pork and other meats. The European Commission estimates that the Japan-EU EPA will eliminate duties on more than 90 percent of EU agricultural products, making European products more affordable and more attractive to Japan’s consumers. The Japan-EU EPA could enter into force as early as 2019.