TOKYO – The Japanese government launched on Friday measures to strengthen its agricultural and livestock sector ahead of the implementation of the free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union.
The Shinzo Abe administration planned to allocate around 300 billion yen ($2.69 billion) of the supplementary budget for the 2017 fiscal year for the cheese, pork and timber industries, government officials said on Friday.
The measures seek to prepare the country’s agricultural sector for the international competition that will arrive once the FTA, which was reached in July in principle on the main elements of an economic partnership with the EU, comes into effect.
The measures were issued following an agreement earlier this month between the 10 countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership to implement an economic pact despite the United States’ withdrawal.
“The TPP and the Japan-EU economic partnership agreement are the trump cards for (Japan’s) growth strategy. I hope to realize economic growth by taking advantage of their merits as much as possible,” Abe said in a statement reported by Japanese agency Kyodo.
The measures, which include subsidies to livestock farmers, seek to reduce the production cost of dairy products and improve the efficiency of other industries, including timber.
The Japan-EU FTA will see the reduction of tariffs on 91 percent of imports from the EU to Japan; it is set to increase to 99 percent once the pact is fully implemented.
The two sides aim to approve a final text of the agreement by the end of the year to begin the ratification that will allow the pact to come into effect by early 2019.