U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom expressed appreciation for USTR’s prioritization of this issue and explains the urgency of amending the safeguard threshold.
In 2021, Japan’s imports of U.S. beef exceeded the safeguard threshold (242,000 metric tons) on March 17, approaching the end of the Japanese fiscal year (March 31). This triggered a higher tariff rate of 38.5% (up from 25.8%) on U.S. beef muscle cuts, which was in effect for 30 days. After this 30-day period passed, the tariff rate for U.S. beef declined to 25%, as provided in the Japan-U.S. Trade Agreement. But for beef suppliers that are members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the 25% tariff rate went into effect April 1.
Competitors such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico will receive their rate reduction on April 1, but it will likely be delayed for U.S. beef unless the safeguard threshold is amended. Halstrom emphasized this distorts the market by putting U.S. beef at a price disadvantage, while also causing some importers to delay purchases to avoid the period in which the higher rate is in effect.