Mon, Sep 16, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Japan to axe tariffs on US wine in trade deal: Nikkei

Reuters, TOKYO

Japan has agreed to phase out tariffs on US wine imports as part of a bilateral trade deal expected to be signed at the end of the month, the Nikkei newspaper reported yesterday.

Japan will eliminate the tariffs on US wine within five to seven years after the trade agreement goes into effect, the Nikkei reported, without giving its sources.

Japan taxes imported wine at a rate of 15 percent or ¥125 (US$1.16) per liter, whichever is cheaper, according to the Nikkei. The elimination of the tariff could cut the cost of US wine by about 13 percent for wine distributors, the Nikkei said.

The trade agreement between the US and Japan, which is expected to be signed on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting, is also expected to gradually lower tariffs on US beef imports to 9 percent in 2033 from 38.5 percent now, the Nikkei said.

Last month, the US and Japan agreed in principle on the core elements of a free-trade deal that would cool a trade dispute between the allies.

Separately, South Korea will probably announce its decision to officially exclude Japan from its “whitelist” of trusted export destinations as early as this week, Yonhap news agency reported.

Should the measures be implemented, Japan will be removed from the 29 member states of the export control regime that also includes the US and will be subject to stricter export conditions, the report said, citing South Korea’s trade ministry.

The new group that Japan would be enrolled in includes countries that are still part of the export control regime, but have operated against ground rules or constantly adopted inadequate policies, Yonhap said, citing the South Korean trade ministry.

The move comes after Japan removed South Korea from its own list of preferred trading partners last month. Relations between Seoul and Tokyo have sunk to their lowest point in decades following a series of disputes, mostly rooted in unresolved rancor over Japan’s 1910-1945 colonization of the Korean Peninsula. The South Korean government on Wednesday said it filed a complaint with the WTO against Japan’s export curbs.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg

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