Japan considers removing wine tariffs

The Japanese government is considering removing tariffs on imported wine as part of ongoing negotiations, which could also see other countries removing tariffs on sake.

SakeThe Japan Daily Express reported that the idea to remove tariffs on wine comes after a request made by Australia and New Zealand during the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

At present, imported beer and whiskey enjoy tariff-free policy in Japan, while there is a 15% tariff on the price of imported wines, or ¥125 (£0.8) per litre. Australia and New Zealand hope that removing wine tariffs will help their entry into Japan’s wine market.

Meanwhile, Japan will also seek to increase its sake exports by requesting the other negotiators in the TPP talks to remove their own restrictions on sake imports. At present sake is Japan’s chief alcoholic export.

According to the Development Bank of Japan, domestic consumption of sake dropped about 40% to 589,000 kilolitres in 2010 from 992,000 kilolitres in 2000, which is one of the reasons the Japanese government is looking at ways to increase the amount of sake that is exported.

There are 12 countries taking part in the TPP talks, which are looking at eliminating tariffs on a number of products. The Japanese government has been working on the list of items from which tariffs could be removed while at the same time protecting around 568 items in five key categories.

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