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HOME  > Past issues  > 2012 April 4 - 10  > USTR presses Japan to ease its food-safety standards
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2012 April 4 - 10 [ECONOMY]

USTR presses Japan to ease its food-safety standards

April 4, 2012
The United States repeatedly demands that Japan relax its food-safety standards and open its market for farm products, obviously with prior consultations on Japan’s entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in mind.

This became evident in reports published on April 2 by the U.S. Trade Representative Office (USTR) regarding foreign trade barriers and phytosanitary measures.

The reports call for an increase in U.S. rice distribution in the Japanese market while complaining that only a tiny amount of “minimum access” U.S. rice reaches Japanese consumers.

Despite highly evaluating Japan’s willingness to ease regulations on U.S. beef imports currently in place as BSE preventive measures, the USTR declares its intent to put continuous pressure on Japan to reopen the beef market.

The reports criticize Japan for banning the import of ruminant-derived gelatin from the U.S.following the BSE outbreak.

The reports refer to the fact that the U.S. government pays special attention to public works projects in Japan in which U.S. businesses have a great interest, and urges Japan to liberalize the public works sector such as expressway projects, large public building projects, government railway procurement, and urban development and urban redevelopment projects.

As for a reform in Japanese postal services, the USTR wants Japan to give U.S. parties opportunities to express their opinions as well as create a mechanism for U.S. insurance companies to break into the Japanese postal industry.

Criticizing Japanese procedures to approve the use of additives as too strict, the reports demand that Japan authorize food additives currently allowed in the United States.

Other demands include a relaxation of Japanese standards on postharvest chemicals and residual pesticides, and easier inspections of chemicals in imported rice.
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