Japan’s beef imports from members of a trans-Pacific free trade pact that took effect late last year soared more than 50 percent in January from a year earlier, government data showed Wednesday.
Beef imports from Australia, Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand — all of whom have already ratified the 11-member trade agreement — totaled 33,000 tons in January, up 57 percent from 21,000 tons in the same month last year, according to data from the Finance Ministry.
The deal known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership entered into force on Dec 30, covering 13 percent of the global economy and 500 million people.
The United States was initially in negotiations to join the treaty but withdrew in January 2017.
Singapore and Vietnam have also ratified the deal but neither country exports beef to Japan.
Japan’s tariffs on imported beef were reduced to 27.5 percent from 38.5 percent and will be eventually cut to 9 percent by 2033 under the accord, which will put pressure on Japanese livestock farmers as a result of the intensifying competition.
The value of the total imports to Japan from the six countries increased 7.6 percent in January from a year earlier, while exports from Japan to those countries fell 14.2 percent.
The remaining signatories are Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, and Peru.