Trade accord between Japan, EU will eliminate tariffs on seafood

Published on
July 11, 2017

The European Union and Japan reached an “agreement in principle” on an Economic Partnership Agreement that will eliminate tariffs on seafood products over a period of five years.

The agreement, made on 6 July, is not the end of the negotiating process, and so should not be considered as final. Some issued will need further detail, while some others are still remain to be settled before the actual finalization of the negotiations. 

For Japan, the main goal was greater access for Japanese autos to the E.U. market, while the E.U. was pushing for greater access for wines and cheeses, among other products, into Japan, as well as recognition of regional designations and the ability compete for government purchases.

Elimination of seafood tariffs will mostly benefit Japanese scallop exports, which face an import duty of 8 percent into the E.U. Japan is a major producer of farmed scallops. Hiranai City, located on Mutsu Bay at the northern tip of Honshu Island, is Japan's top scallop port. Scallops in the bay are grown on suspended nets or lines, not dredged from the seafloor as in other areas. Other leading scallop-producing prefectures are Iwate, Miyagi and Hokkaido, known for the largest scallops found in Japan.

The E.U.’s big seafood export to Japan is tuna, especially farmed bluefin from the Mediterranean. Japan’s current WTO tariff rate for Atlantic bluefin tuna is 3.5 percent.

New rules will also require transparency, and in some cases elimination, of government subsidies to fisheries. 

Contributing Editor reporting from Osaka, Japan

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