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Japan imports of US frozen beef drop by a quarter after tariff hike

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Japanese imports of US frozen beef fell by more than a quarter in August after Tokyo hiked tariffs on such shipments as it tries to protect local farmers, data from the country's agriculture ministry showed on Thursday.

[TOKYO] Japanese imports of US frozen beef fell by more than a quarter in August after Tokyo hiked tariffs on such shipments as it tries to protect local farmers, data from the country's agriculture ministry showed on Thursday.

But that helped prompt a nearly 55 per cent surge in shipments of US chilled beef as buyers looked for substitutes, meaning overall imports of the meat from the United States were up by around a fifth.

Japan said in July that between Aug 1 and the end of March next year, tariffs on US frozen beef imports would jump to 50 per cent from 38.5 per cent, as a "safeguard" mechanism was triggered to help domestic producers.

Imports of US frozen beef slid to 4,317 tonnes in August, down 26 per cent from a year ago, the trade data showed.

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Japan's import of chilled beef from the United States surged 54 per cent in August from the year before, boosting overall US beef shipments by more than 20 per cent to 18,038 tonnes.

Meanwhile, August imports of frozen beef from Australia rose 30 per cent to 15,010 tonnes as some buyers looked for an alternative source for frozen meat.

REUTERS