Tokyo proposes scrapping customs duty on wine in 5 years

Tokyo proposes scrapping customs duty on wine in 5 years

BRUSSELS - The Japanese government has proposed eliminating import duties on wine from the European Union within five years of forming an economic partnership agreement with the regional bloc, down from the previous seven years, The Nikkei has learned.

The proposal came during EPA negotiations and is aimed at giving the EU an incentive to accelerate the talks.

Currently, Japan imposes an import duty of 125 yen (US$1.05) per liter, or 15 per cent of the unit price, on wine from the EU, which accounts for roughly 75 per cent of all wine imported into Japan by value.

However, the European wine industry has been calling on Tokyo to abolish the duty as early as possible, citing Japan's decision to phase out the tariff on wine from Chile over a 12-year period that started in 2007.

Japan is unlikely to budge on the matter, however, unless the EU agrees to cut duties on Japanese automobiles and related parts -- an issue that has been a sticking point between the two sides.

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