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Japan to hike tariffs on frozen beef imports from U.S., others -media

TOKYO, July 27 (Reuters) - Japan will raise tariffs on frozen beef imports from the United States and some other countries to protect domestic producers against a surge in imports, local media reported on Thursday.

Tariffs on frozen beef will jump to 50 percent from the current 38.5 percent between Aug. 1 and the end of March as a 'safeguard' mechanism for domestic farmers is to be triggered for the first time in 14 years, reports said, without citing sources.

The move comes as U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to expand exports of U.S. products to Japan.

The safeguard is automatically triggered if quarterly imports from all nations and from countries that do not have economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with Japan both rise more than 17 percent from a year earlier, according to reports in the Nikkei and Yomiuri newspapers.

Nations that have EPAs with Japan, such as Australia, Mexico and Chile, will be excluded from the hike in tariffs, the Asahi newspaper said.

Japan's farm ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.

Frozen beef imports from the U.S. have risen this year as another major supplier Australia was hit by drought, the Yomiuri said.

The country's frozen beef imports in the year ended March 2017 totalled about 290,000 tonnes, including about 90,000 tonnes from the United States, the Asahi said, adding that frozen meat imports accounted for about 54 percent of beef imports. (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Joseph Radford)