The California Table Grape Commission has welcomed Japan’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Under the partnership, Japan will join the US and 10 other countries in negotiations for a next-generation trade agreement, aimed at opening up export opportunities around the globe.
One of the key issues on the TPP’s agenda is seasonal tariffs.
Grape tariffs in Japan range from 7.8 per cent to 17 per cent during the California grape season.
“Eliminating or at least lowering the tariffs is a priority for California table grape growers,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission.
“The lower the tariffs the more grapes that growers can sell at decent prices; the kind of prices that can help provide economic sustainability for farming and the rural communities that farming supports.”
Japan was the ninth leading market for Californian grape exports over the 2012-13 season, importing a record volume of 1.2m 8.6kg cartons at a value of just over US$26m.
“Japan has always been an important grape market and its willingness to join the US and 10 other countries to address ongoing trade issues can ultimately lead to more grapes from California in markets around the world,” Nave said.
Countries in TPP negotiations include: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam.