Japan is in try to increase the tariff free rice import quota from US to make progress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which has been halted due to deadlock between US and Japan over access to its farm market including rice, Reuter quoted Nikkei Asian Review as saying.
The East Asian Nation are in favour to exclude Rice from TPP negotiation as excluding rice will protect local rice prices and will increase demand of locally produced rice in the country. Japan Government has been struggling to keep prices of Japanese rice competitive due to lesser demand and high production cost. But US government is urging Japan to include rice in the TPP talks as including rice in TPP talk would increase the demand and prices of US rice in Japanese market.
However US have agreed for Japan to not include rice in TPP talks in April 2014 but had sought increased tariff free rice import from US.
Currently Japan Import around10,000 tons of rice from US. But minimum market access (MMA) quota for tax-free rice imports is 770,000 as per World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations. Rice import above the MMA quota will carry a prohibitive import tariff of around 778%
Official from both the countries would meet on 28 January 2015 to finalize the treaty.
USDA has estimated that Japan produce 7.7 million tons of rice and import around 700,000 tons of rice in MY(2014-15) to full fill its annual consumption need of around8.2 million tons of rice.