JCP: WTO tariff cut proposal will destroy Japan's farming

The Japanese Communist Party warned on February 13 that the present World Trade Organization (WTO) proposal for a 45 percent cut in tariffs on imported rice will have a catastrophic impact on Japan's agriculture. The WTO proposal came on the eve of a WTO informal ministerial meeting in Tokyo by major WTO members.

In the Lower House Budget Committee, JCP member Nakabayashi Yoshiko questioned the government about its attitude toward the agricultural talks.

Referring to the EU proposal for cutting at least 15 percent, which Japan supports, Nakabayashi stated that it is also unacceptable in that the wholesale price of imported rice will be almost equal to that of domestic rice.

She also said that the Japanese government, in the first place, should not have accepted the WTO request for tariffication of trade barriers: "The government has told us that replacing non-tariff trade barriers with tariffs would give Japan an advantage in trade talks. But the fact of the matter is that Japan has been involved in the increasingly fierce competition to lower prices."

She said that by calling for the WTO Agreement to be revised to defend national sovereignty regarding food, the Japanese government will be able to protect Japan's agriculture and will at the same time make a significant contribution to meeting the needs of the international community. (end)

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