17 December 1998
Japan slaps 1000% tariff on rice imports

JAPAN is about to impose tariffs of about 1000% on rice imports in a bid to protect its own troubled agricultural sector.

The move is expected to be made in the teeth of opposition from its trading partners, the USA and Australia.

The weight-based tariffs could put a duty of as much as ¥350/kg (£1.80) on imported rice.

This could raise the price of popular brands of US rice to ¥500, or 25% more than the equivalent domestic product.

Japan has been forced into action by the farm lobby, the Zenchu, whose members have faced production cuts as Japans surplus of rice has risen to high levels.

Rice farmers are calling for a repeal of the Uruguay Round agreement which opened the Japanese market to a minimum level of imports in 1995.

  • Financial Times 17/12/98 page 8