US Trade Representative Michael Froman is in Tokyo for negotiations with Japanese Economics Minister Akira Amari. The US and Japan are trying to negotiate a trade deal before President Barack Obama arrives in Japan for a state visit later this month.
The US wants to Japan to liberalize its markets for rice, beef, pork, dairy and other agricultural products. News reports state Japan is considering lowering agricultural tariffs — including deep cuts to tariffs on US beef. But Japan’s scrapping the tariffs is entirely off the table. The Trans-Pacific Partnership framework calls for the elimination of such tariffs.
Japan and Australia recently reached a bilateral trade agreement, which cut in half tariffs levied on Australian beef. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association said the agreement between Australia and Japan "undermines the long-standing goals and principles that are the base of the Trans-Pacific Partnership."