Industry celebrates trade deal with Japan

Industry celebrates trade deal with Japan
Dec 06, 2019

The trade agreement will remove tariffs from more than US$1.3 billion of U.S. farm products

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The U.S. ag sector is welcoming a trade deal with a country whose economy is worth about US$5 trillion.

On Wednesday, the Japanese government ratified the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, which will provide several U.S. farm products with substantial access to Japanese consumers.

The deal should come into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

“This is a big win for farmers, and we hope it’s the first of many trade deals to be approved that will open markets and level playing fields for American agricultural exports,” Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a Dec. 4 statement.

From a crop perspective, corn, sorghum and wheat producers are among the beneficiaries of the trade deal.

Japan will eliminate tariffs on more than US$1.3 billion of U.S. farm goods, including sweet corn and grain sorghum. The country will also implement staged tariff elimination on about US$3 billion of U.S. ag products including ethanol.

American wheat growers will receive the same access to Japan that other countries enjoy.

The trade deal “keeps (U.S. wheat) exports on par with (Trans-Pacific-Partnership members) Australia and Canada, which is what we asked for,” Darrin Padget, vice-chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates, told Capital Press on Friday.

On the livestock side of the equation, Japan will reduce tariffs on fresh and frozen beef and pork, and eliminate tariffs in stages on frozen poultry, processed pork, beef offal and egg products.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is pleased with the outcome of the bilateral trade negotiations.

“There’s just no other way to say it: this is a tremendous victory and a great day for America’s beef producers and Japanese consumers,” Jennifer Houston, president of the NCBA, said in a statement Wednesday.

America’s top trade negotiator expects President Trump to put pen to paper on the deal soon.

“We expect the president to sign the implementing proclamation for the United States next week,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Reuters on Wednesday. has reached out to U.S. farm organizations for comment.

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