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Japanese farmers set to face off against New Zealand imports

Japanese farmers are set to compete with cheaper agricultural products imported from New Zealand and Australia as the first tariff cuts under the re-jigged Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal take effect tomorrow.

Tokyo's Asahi Shimbun newspaper reports that tomorrow Japan will axe tariffs on kiwfruit, grapes and melons, and cut tariffs on imported beef from the current 38.5 percent to 27.5.

It reports the number of stores selling New Zealand beef are likely to increase and a big company - Itoham Foods - is planning to sell more beef from its New Zealand subsidiary.

Japan has been imposing tariffs of more than 6 percent on kiwifruit - 80 percent of which are imported from New Zealand.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) takes effect on 30 December for six of its 11 members - New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico and Singapore.

Vietnam will join them on 14 January.

The United States, which was originally a part of the agreement, pulled out after Donald Trump became president.

National MP Todd McClay says the government needs to do everything it possibly can to bring the US back into the trade agreement.

"The government now needs to turn its attention to the US market, it's the world's largest consumer market, we haven't got a trade deal with them, they need [the New Zealand government] to do everything they can to entice them back to the TPP and get better access for Kiwis for the US market."

But duty minister Andrew Little said they had to be realistic.

"We're a country of 4.7 million, they're a country of over 300 million, let's get real about what the prospects here are - the main thing that we must do is maintain good relations with the US."


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