As per sources Japan is planning to propose a 70,000 ton tariff-free rice import quota for the U.S as part of efforts to push forward the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations which have been stalled between the U.S and Japan.
It is likely that Japan may put forth its plans in a four-day ministerial meeting of the 12 countries namely Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, that began on July 28, 2015 in Hawaii.
The U.S has been demanding that Japan increase to U.S rice quota to 175,000 tons. However, Japan may not honor the U.S. request in order to protect its rice sector from the foreign competition. It is planning to initially set the quota at 50,000 tons and gradually increases it to 70,000 tons over the next decade, but its imports may depend on the domestic demand.
According to reports, Australia is also reportedly seeking an increase in its import quota. Japan may propose to set the Australian target at 12% of the U.S. quota. Both U.S. and Australia quotas may be together set at 80,000 tons.
So far, Japan imports about 77,000 tons of rice under the annual minimum market access (MMA) quota as per the World Trade Organization (WTO) obligation. The rice imports above the MMA quota carry a prohibitive import tariff of around 778%.USDA estimates Japan to produce around 7.7 million tons of rice and import around 700,000 tons of rice in MY 2014 – 15 (November – October) to meet annual consumption against needs of 8.2 million tons.