IDFA calls for replacement of Japan’s import systemThe International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) submitted a letter to US Trade Representative Michael Froman and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack calling for the replacement of Japan’s current import administration in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

IDFA called the administration program a potential “Achilles heel in the negotiations.”

According to IDFA, Japan’s Agriculture and Livestock Industries Corporation (ALIC) is the state-trading enterprise that administers the country’s manufacturing milk quotas and imports of dairy products under tariff rate quotas. IDFA representatives say the way ALIC operates is inconsistent and trade-distorting, making it difficult for US dairy exporters to access the market.

“Suffice it to say that its administration of Japan’s import constraints on dairy products is the antithesis of free and open trade. ALIC is in total control of Japan’s dairy imports,” said Connie Tipton, president and CEO of IDFA. “The financial benefits of the system flow entirely to the government, after which those financial ‘gains’ are shared with Japanese dairy producers. It would be difficult to imagine an import management system that is more trade distortive than this one.”

Instead of the ALIC system, IDFA urges officials to seek a tariff rate quota system as part of the bilateral negotiations with Japan.

IFDA's letter can be read here.