The UK AHDB Pork said the 4.3% ad valorem duty for high-value pork cuts and a specific duty on low-value cuts equivalent to €3.82 (US$4.37)/kilogramme will be reduced over the next 10 years.
It added that the duty on high-value cuts will be phased out entirely in 10 years, while the specific duty on low value cuts will be reduced to just €0.40 (46 cents)/kg over this time period.
Processed pig meat will be tariff-free, although EU trade in this is much smaller amounting to 20,000 tonnes in 2016. "Volume-based safeguarding clauses will apply during the transition period to minimise any significant impact on the Japanese pig meat industry", said the pork division of the levy body Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board.
Pig meat is already the primary EU agricultural export to Japan, with total shipments (excluding offal) worth over €1.43 billion ($1.637 billion) last year. This accounted for 21% of the export market value.
The AHDB Pork said the tariff reductions will boost the competitiveness of European pig meat on the Japanese marketplace, adding this could facilitate growth in export volumes, taking market share from the US (currently Japan's largest supplier of imported pig meat) where the full tariff will still apply.
"Indeed, the US pork industry has expressed concern about JEEPA (Japan-EU Economic Partnership Agreement), urging the US government to also finalise a trade deal with Japan", AHDB Pork noted.
It also noted that while JEEPA could provide a boost to EU pork exports to Japan, the 10-year phasing-in period means it will be a while before these benefits are felt fully. "Nonetheless, with expectations that Japanese import demand could grow as domestic producers retire without succession, additional opportunities for the EU could be significant".