In the wake of the Japanese safeguard tariff on U.S. frozen beef, discussions have focused on the relative change in tariff values that impact frozen beef. For those of you who may have missed it, Japan, beginning on Aug. 1, temporarily increased the U.S. tariff on frozen beef imports from 38.5 percent to 50 percent until the end of Japan’s fiscal year (March 31). Safeguard tariffs are implemented when the import volume exceeds a predetermined threshold.

This safeguard measure only affects countries without free trade agreements with Japan, which includes the U.S., Canada and New Zealand, versus free-trading competitor, Australia. Japan is a major destination for U.S. beef, representing 20 percent of frozen exports and over 30 percent of fresh beef exports. USMEF estimates the tariff rate change will increase the price of U.S.-produced short plates by 17 cents per pound, an 8 percent increase.