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Cablegate: Japan: Diet Extends Temporary Tariffs

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OO RUEHFK RUEHGH RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #0880 0920820
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 010820Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3029
INFO RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8563
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 6034
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2524
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RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 0377
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 3283
RHMFIUU/USFJ
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 6960
RUEATRS/TREASURY DEPT WASHDC

UNCLAS TOKYO 000880

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

USTR FOR AUSTR CUTLER AND DAUSTR BEEMAN
PLEASE PASS TO USDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EAGR PGOV JA
SUBJECT: JAPAN: DIET EXTENDS TEMPORARY TARIFFS

REF: A. TOKYO 822

B. TOKYO 860

1. (U) The Diet passed a law March 31 to extend "temporary"
tariff rates -- including tariffs on beef, pork, and corn
products -- for one year. The legislation passed after both
the Upper House Finance Committee and the full Upper House
plenary voted in favor of a bill that the Lower House
approved March 25 (ref A).

2. (U) The Upper House had to approve the bill before Japan's
fiscal year-end of March 31 to ensure no disruption in
current tariff arrangements: 417 tariffs were set to sunset
with the end of the fiscal year absent Diet action to renew
them. The measures included provisions to maintain beef
tariffs at 38.5 percent (vice 50 percent), as per agreements
Japan had reached in the WTO and GATT.

3. (SBU) Media and Diet contacts report the legislation
passed easily and with the support of the main opposition
Democratic Party of Japan, which has focused its attention on
the fight over road-related taxes (ref B).

SCHIEFFER

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