From the Washington State Potato Commission, reported by Spudman magazine: On April 1, Japan initiated a further round of tariff reductions for members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The CPTPP, otherwise known as the TPP-11, includes the 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, including other potato-exporting nations such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The CPTPP agreement entered into force on Dec. 30, 2018, at which time Japan initiated the first round of tariff reductions for CPTPP members on a range of imports, including potatoes and potato products.
According to Japan’s CPTPP tariff reduction schedule, on April 1 the Japanese tariff on frozen fries was reduced from the current rate of 6.3 percent to 4.2 percent. Tariffs on dehy potatoes were also subject to further reductions.
In contrast, the tariff on U.S. frozen fries remains at Japan’s base rate of 8.5 percent.
In August 2018, the U.S. and Japan announced their intention to launch talks on a free trade agreement. Both sides have yet to initiate any substantive discussions or publish any timeframe for negotiations; however, talks are expected to begin in the coming month.
Washington State Potato Commission anticipates reduced exports from Washington State due to this reduction in tariff for competing countries.