WASHINGTON – On Sept. 25, President Trump and his administration signed a deal with Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, outlining the initial details of a future, broader trade agreement. The first stage includes opening Japanese markets to roughly $7 billion in US agricultural products, most notably reduced tariffs on fresh and frozen beef and pork, and staged tariff elimination on products such as processed pork, poultry, beef offal and egg products.

According to the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), Japan will have limited safeguards for surges in imports of beef, pork, whey, oranges, and race horses, which will be phased out over time. The USTR’s fact sheet also states American farmers and ranchers will have the same advantage as CP-TPP countries selling into the Japanese market. The full fact sheet for the trade agreement can be found here.   

“The Meat Institute applauds the Trump Administration for negotiating better access for American beef and pork exports to the critical Japanese market,” said North American Meat Institute (NAMI) CEO Julie Anna Potts in a statement. “The US will now be better positioned to compete with countries in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the European Union for valuable market share. We also continue to urge Congress to approve the United States-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.”

US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) president and CEO, Dan Halstrom issued this statement, “With Japan being the largest value destination for US pork and beef exports (combined export value in 2018 was $3.7 billion), there is no market more critical to the profitability and prosperity of the US red meat industry. It is therefore imperative that we achieve a level playing field for US pork and beef in Japan, so that the US industry can further expand its customer base in this increasingly competitive market. Today’s announcement is not only excellent news for US farmers and ranchers, but also for Japanese consumers who will have greater access to US pork and beef products. USMEF thanks the Trump administration for prioritizing trade negotiations with Japan and for securing this agreement, which is a major step forward for the US pork and beef industries and for all of US agriculture.”

“This agreement between the United States and Japan is a better deal for the entire US economy, but is a particularly big win for our farmers and ranchers,” said US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue. “When I visited Japan in May for the G20, I made it clear that the US is Japan’s best customer and we felt that relationship was not reciprocal. This agreement helps level the playing field. I thank President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for delivering on their promise to open markets around the world for America’s farmers and ranchers.”

“While final details regarding agriculture still need to be worked out, today’s 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 US chicken,” said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown.

The US also agreed to modify its global WTO tariff rate quota (TRQ) for Japanese beef imports. This will enable Japanese beef producers to compete for a larger share of the global TRQ quantity.