Japan invoked an emergency safeguard provision under international trade agreements in raising its tariff on imported pork, raising the basic import price of one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of pork to 681.08 yen ($5.70) from 546.53 yen ($4.60). The Japanese government also raised the safeguard provision on beef imports from 38.5 percent to 50 percent. The increase follows a spike in imports in 2003 versus 2002, when concerns about several cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in Japan caused beef consumption to decline dramatically. The Finance Ministry says the new rate, effective Aug. 1, would apply only to chilled beef, frozen beef will not be affected. The tariff hike will last through March 2004. Under World Trade Organization guidelines, Japan is allowed to raise tariffs if imports during a given quarter show a year-to-year increase of 17 percent or more. Beef imports for the April to June quarter rose 34 percent and pork imports rose at a similar rate.

American Meat Institute