Japan Places Tariff on U.S. Beef

by Grant Hodge

In case you did not see the news lately, the Japanese Ministry of Finance just announced a tariff increase on beef from multiple countries including the U.S. According to a Japan Today article the increase would raise the tariff by 11.5%. This is unfortunate for U.S. beef producers that are already battling low prices and a growing large supply of beef. There is potential that this tariff could have a large effect on U.S. beef prices since Japan is the largest buyer of U.S. chilled and frozen beef. I found it interesting that Australia and Mexico will not be affected by this tariff because of already established trade deals with Japan (Japan Today).  This should create a great opportunity for these countries to grow their beef businesses.

There is a lot of controversy and hurt feelings over the passage of this tariff, and rightfully so. However it is important to respect Japan’s decision to raise the tariff in order to protect their farmers. They have to look out for their own first and make sure they are taking care of their farmers because if we were in their shoes, we would probably do the exact same. However for the U.S. beef market’s sake I dearly hope that other countries do not follow suit with this action.

This issue is important and something that I do not think gets the attention it deserves sometimes. From an economic perspective, if prices were to fall this would lead to herd reduction and less demand for corn and soybeans for feed. If crop prices fall this can affect a number of things in the marketplace like fuel for example that we need and use every day. It is amazing how the whole market is connected and how a major change in one place can change everything else down the line. To me this emphasizes the importance of issues such as this, the unfortunate part about it is that there isn’t too much that we can do about it.

Works Cited

Japan beef tariff hike threatens trade relations: U.S.Japan Today. N.p., 28 July 2017. Web. 30 July 2017.

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This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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