This time, the news is in English! Although I first read about the dropping of tariffs in Japanese, it has also been widely reported outside of Japan.
Japan and the World and Asia News Network report that exports of green tea were worth JPY 11.5 billion in 2016, and JPY 15.5 billion for sake, with the EU taking 20% (JPY 2.3 billion) and 6% (JPY 1 billion) of exports respectively.
A broad trade agreement between Japan and the EU announced on 6 June 2017 should see the EU drop tariffs of 3.2% on tea and an unspecified number of yen per litre of sake. The Japan Times reports that Japan maintains high tariffs on some products, such as 30% on camembert cheese, to protect domestic production. However, it is considering abolishing or reducing tariffs for other dairy products. that the agreement was influenced by Trump's "America First" stance and withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
There is as yet no date for the tariff changes to come into effect, although European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker said a final agreement and implementation should be in place by early 2019. The talks started in 2013 but were stalled by sensitive issues such as European wine and cheese, and Japanese cars.
- Japan and EU seal FTA after four years of talks (The Japan Times, 6 July 2017)
- EU to abolish tariffs on Japanese sake and green tea (Japan and the World, 22 June 2017)
- EU set to abolish sake, green tea tariffs (Asia News Network, 20 June 2017)