TAIWAN SET TO HALVE TARIFF ON JAPANESE SAKE IN BID TO JOIN TPP
By Susan Lewis
In a bid to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade pact, Taiwan is set to lower its tariff on Japanese sake from the current 40 percent to 20 percent in as early as next month.
The Taiwan parliament has passed legislation to lower the tariff earlier this month.
The legislation also involves cutting tariffs on Japanese agricultural and fishery products including frozen shishamo smelt, scallop, yams as well as processed foods like miso paste and curry roux.
By lowering tariffs on products from Japan, which is a leading member of the TPP, Taiwan aim at showing it’s commitment to conducting free trade in the Trans-Pacific region.
However, Taiwan has maintained its 40 percent tariff on Japanese spirits such as shochu and awamori, despite that Japan is seeking tariff reductions on these products as well.
Also Taiwan plans to keep its import ban on foods from five Japanese prefectures introduced after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown at least until November 2020.
Japanese sake is very popular in Taiwan. Imports in 2018 surged 46.7 percent compared to year before to USD12.61 million and are expected to grow further after the tariff cut.
The current TPP free trade pact came into effect on 30 December 2018. There are currently 11 member states in the pact, all of them are Pacific rim countries.
USA is absent in this pact because President Trump decided to pull out. Japan has since become the leading country in the trade pact. The other members are namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
(the writer can be contacted at: SusanLewis@thewinechronicle.com)
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