BY EXCEEDING their quota of frozen beef to Japan by a mere 115 tonnes last quarter, US exporters have triggered a rise in tariffs for the rest of 2017 from 38.5 to 50 per cent.
That gives Australian beef exporters to Japan a further advantage with the 28 per cent bilateral (so called ‘free trade’) agreement with Japan.
At a time when currency moves were favouring US exporters and lifting costs of Aussie beef, the tariff was timely relief.
But the Yanks are moving into maximum whinge mode, saying the Japanese food service industry prefers their frozen belly cuts and the American beef processor is just the victim of their success.
The US beef import rules to Japan state that if their volume increases by more than 17 per cent in a quarter, the tariff increases to 50 per cent (which only highlights how weird and petty trade negotiations must be).
But the rules are the rules and the Japanese are nothing but sticklers for rules.
Interestingly, the US beef industry seems more willing to cop this temporary tariff than alert President Trump, whose diplomatic blundering they seem to want to avoid.