Japan to eliminate tariffs on US wine in bilateral trade deal

TOKYO • Japan has agreed to phase out tariffs on US wine imports as part of a bilateral trade deal expected to be signed at the end of the month, the Nikkei newspaper reported yesterday.

Japan will eliminate the tariffs within five to seven years after the trade agreement goes into effect, the Nikkei reported, without giving its sources.

Japan taxes imported wine at a rate of 15 per cent, or 125 yen (S$1.60) a litre, whichever is lower, according to the Nikkei.

The elimination of the tariff could cut the cost of US wine by about 13 per cent for wine distributors, said the newspaper.

The trade agreement between the United States and Japan, which is expected to be signed on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting this week, is also expected to gradually lower tariffs on US beef imports to 9 per cent in 2033 from 38.5 per cent now, said the Nikkei.

Officials from Japan's Trade Ministry were not immediately available for comment.

Last month, the US and Japan agreed in principle on the core elements of a free trade deal that would cool a trade dispute between the allies.

The US is also trying to de-escalate its year-long trade war with China.

Chinese trade deputies are expected to meet their US counterparts in Washington before minister-level meetings early next month in the US capital.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2019, with the headline Japan to eliminate tariffs on US wine in bilateral trade deal. Subscribe