U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement Will Enhance Agricultural Market Access

32a11-shipJapan is prepared to eliminate or reduce tariffs on U.S. food and agricultural products in 2020, as part of a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement.

President Trump’s trade deal will provide U.S. farmers and agribusinesses with competitive access to the nation’s third-largest agricultural export market. That access will enable American producers to better compete with countries that currently have preferential tariffs in the Japanese market. The tariff cuts will match what Japan provides to countries in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Signing the agreement is a shot in the arm for the Virginia beef industry, said Wilmer Stoneman, vice president of agriculture, development and innovation for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

“That’s the shining highlight in this particular story,” Stoneman said. “A lot of U.S. beef, and perhaps Virginia beef, goes to Japan. We’ll benefit in some fashion with this Japan trade deal, though it might be an associative effect for us.”

Tariff reductions will be applied to fresh and frozen beef and pork, and tariffs will be eliminated on nuts, berries, fruits, vegetables, wine, cheese, ethanol, egg products and more. Preferential tariffs will be applied to wheat products, malt, glucose, starches and fructose.

“Japan is an island that has limited agricultural resources, and they need our goods,” Stoneman said. “Opening that market back up is a very good thing for keeping farms in business producing quality goods—keeping farmers farming.”

The U.S. also is rolling back tariffs on dozens of agricultural imports from Japan, including flowers, green tea, chewing gum, soy sauce and confections.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said the agreement is a positive step for America’s farmers and ranchers.

“We export nearly $13 billion a year in agricultural products to Japan, even as we continue to face steep tariffs on many exports,” Duvall said. “This agreement means sharply lower tariffs on our farm and ranch exports with the promise of more to come.”

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