Tokyo – Japan will lower its tariffs on pork shipments from Australia as part of a bilateral trade agreement between the two countries, according to news reports. The agreement also gradually reduces tariffson Australian beef.

Under the agreement, Japan will cut the tariff almost in half to 2.2 percent from 4.3 percent. A quota will limit volumes to 6,700 metric tons in the first and expand to 16,700 mt within five years.

Lowering tariffs on agricultural products — rather than eliminating them outright — may be a strategic move by Japan to get the United States’ negotiators to drop demands to scrap the tariffs, according to news reports. The US wants to Japan to liberalize its markets for rice, beef, pork, dairy and other agricultural products. The Trans-Pacific Partnership framework calls for the elimination of such tariffs.