Keywords: agricultural trade, Doha agenda, globalisation, human rights, non-trade concerns, WTO, World Trade Organisation, multifunctionality, multifunctional agriculture, agriculture negotiations, Japan, protectionism, trade liberalisation
Japan's non-trade concerns: legitimate or protectionist?
The purpose of this article is to explain why Japan, with its food self-sufficiency rate at 40%, is at risk from severe tariff reductions and why it should be accorded special dispensations in WTO agreements on agriculture. The main issue evaluated is whether substantial net food importing countries like Japan, with their extremely high-cost agricultures, should be granted some exemptions in trade negotiations in order to meet the goal of a 'fair' and 'equitable' trade system. Included are implications for regional stability, impacts on consumer confidence and concerns about the well-being of all citizens. Studies on purported benefits of consumer welfare in Japan from liberalisation of agricultural trade were found to be flawed due to invalid assumptions and failure to account for losses. It is concluded that exclusions should be adopted as part of non-trade concerns (NTCs) mandated to be taken into account at the WTO agricultural trade negotiations.