Sunday, December 10, 2023

Initial stage of U.S.-Japan trade deal is finalized

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By David B. Strickland

Poultry Times staff

WASHINGTON — On Sept. 25, President Donald Trump announced that the initial stage of a new trade deal between the United States and Japan had been finalized.

President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed the new trade agreement in New York during a side meeting held during the recent United Nations General Assembly.

Officials noted that this agreement will gain U.S. agribusinesses more access to Japan’s 127 million consumers.

In information released by the Office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, “Out of the $14.1 billion in U.S. food and agricultural products imported by Japan in 2018, $5.2 billion were already duty free. Under this first-stage initial tariff agreement, Japan will eliminate or reduce tariffs on an additional $7.2 billion of U.S. food and agricultural products. Over 90 percent of U.S. food and agricultural imports into Japan will either be duty free or receive preferential tariff access once the agreement is implemented.”

Frozen poultry and egg products will benefit from a staged tariff elimination, the trade representative’s office added.

“This agreement between the United States and Japan is a better deal for the entire U.S. economy, but is a particularly big win for our farmers and ranchers,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “When I visited Japan in May for the G20, I made it clear that the U.S. is Japan’s best customer and we felt that relationship was not reciprocal. This agreement helps level the playing field.”

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said, “Japan is American agriculture’s fourth-largest export destination and vital to the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of farms and the families who live on them. We export nearly $13 billion a year in agricultural products to Japan, even as we continue to face steep tariffs on many exports.”

“The time for trade wars has come and gone,” Duvall added. “We are thankful the administration has reached this deal and we urge trade negotiators to achieve many more like it. Farmers and ranchers need to get back to doing what they do best: feeding a hungry world that needs what they produce.”

Industry reaction

Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, said “we are very pleased to see the agriculture provisions of the U.S.-Japan agreement now finalized.

“Japan is our number one market for processed eggs, one of our top markets for turkey, and has the potential of being a great market for our broiler industry, too. As the new agreement takes effect early next year, it should enable us to compete more effectively with other countries and put us on an equal footing with the 10 countries with CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) access to Japan.”

The National Chicken Council also notes and welcomes the benefits that frozen poultry exports to Japan will receive.

“Under the U.S.-Japan trade agreement, frozen chicken products will receive favorable tariff reductions enabling our products to compete more effectively with those countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Mike Brown, NCC president, said. “While final details regarding agriculture still need to be worked out, today’s (Sept. 25) signing is welcome news and we would like to thank President Trump, Secretary Perdue and Secretary Lighthizer for their work negotiating trade deals that stand to benefit U.S. chicken.”

Citing USDA statistics, NCC added that, “U.S. chicken exports to Japan in 2018 were 19,265 metric tons valued at $32.5 million. Fully removing tariffs would stand to benefit the U.S. industry and lead to increased exports of U.S. chicken products.”

The National Turkey Federation noted that more than 17.5 million pounds of U.S. turkey products were exported to Japan in 2018.

“NTF applauds the Trump administration’s success in securing a bilateral trade deal with Japan, one of our nation’s top trade partners and the U.S. turkey industry’s third largest export market,” said Joel Brandenberger, NTF president. “Under this deal, U.S. turkey products will receive favorable tariff reductions, enabling our products to compete more effectively. This relationship delivers on NTF’s substantial efforts to increase access to U.S. turkey products abroad and get more turkey on tables worldwide.”

Beef and pork producers, who exported more than $3.6 billion in product to Japan last year, also will see great benefit from the new agreement.

Julie Anna Potts, CEO of the North American Meat Institute said, “The Meat Institute applauds the Trump administration for negotiating better access to American beef and pork exports to the critical Japanese market. The U.S. will now be better positioned to compete with countries in the (CPTPP) and the European Union for valuable market share. We also continue to urge Congress to approve the United State-Mexico-Canada agreement and to encourage the administration to further strengthen negotiations with China and the EU to provide additional certainty for American consumers, workers and meat and poultry processors and producers.”

Feed and grain associations also welcome this new trade deal with Japan, and look toward further discussions.

“Japan is one of the U.S. animal food industry’s most valuable export markets, representing roughly a third of all exports for feed, feed ingredients and pet food products,” said Joel G. Newman, American Feed Industry Association president. “As the two countries work toward negotiating an agreement beyond this initial limited trade deal on tariff reductions, we hope that they will address outstanding sanitary and phytosanitary and regulatory issues our industry faces.”

National Corn Growers Association President Lynn Chrisp added that, “Japan has been a strong trading partner and friend for American agriculture, now the second-largest purchaser of U.S. corn. NCGA has long-advocated for an agreement with Japan and, with many farmers struggling amid challenging times in agriculture, this is very welcome news. While we await further details, it seems this phase one agreement will deliver for corn farmers and build upon our successful partnership with Japan.”

The United States is also the largest soybean supplier to Japan, with a 63 percent market share, the American Soybean Association notes.

“Japan has long been a valued and reliable trading partner for soybeans, and we appreciate that the agriculture component of this deal will assure continued market access for our beans and other ag products,” Davie Stephens, ASA president, said. “As we go through the details of the agreement, we extend a thank you to the administration for finalizing this deal.”

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