WASHINGTON – The United States and Japanese governments reached an agreement that increases the beef safeguard trigger level and helps with the growing demand for American beef in Japan. 

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the United States Department of Agriculture also noted that the agreement will reduce Japan’s probability of imposing higher tariffs regarding beef.

“This agreement is a great win for our two countries that ensures American farmers and ranchers can continue to meet Japan’s growing demand for high-quality US beef,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “I especially want to thank Ambassador Rahm Emanuel for his fierce determination to get this deal done. Today’s agreement is the latest example of the Biden-Harris Administration’s successful resolution of trade disputes with our partners that increases market access and economic opportunity for our producers and their workers.”

US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack noted that the deal is a positive development for America’s farmers and ranchers and allows for greater market-based growth in US beef exports to Japan.

The agreement adds three-trigger mechanisms where all three prompts must be hit for Japan to implement the safeguard and impose a higher tariff. 

The triggers include:

  • Imports from the United States must exceed the original beef safeguard trigger level under the US-Japan Trade Agreement;
  • The aggregate volume of beef imports from the United States and the original signatories of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) must exceed the CPTPP beef safeguard; and
  • Imports from the United States must exceed the total amount of beef imports from the United States during the previous year.

The United States withdrew from the previous CPTPP agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, during the Trump Administration. 

Last year, the United States saw global sales of beef and beef products valued at $10 billion making it the top exporting country in the world. Exports of US beef to Japan totaled almost $2.4 billion in 2021. 

After the agreement was finalized, the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) released a positive statement about the deal.

“USMEF greatly appreciates the efforts of USTR and USDA to adjust Japan’s safeguard on US beef,” said Dan Halstrom, president and chief executive officer of USMEF. “The US-Japan Trade Agreement was a tremendous breakthrough for the US meat industry, including the significant reduction in Japan’s tariffs on US beef, but the playing field has not been entirely level due to this safeguard. The changes announced today reduce the potential impact of the safeguard and make it less disruptive for US exporters and their customers in Japan.” 

The trade association added that the US beef exports to Japan exceeded 320,000 metric tons in 2021 and set a new value record at $2.38 billion. However, after imports exceeded the safeguard volume, US beef was subject to a higher tariff than its competitors for 30 days, from mid-March to mid-April.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also welcomed the news from the USTR and what it will mean for the American cattle producer. 

“While the details of the agreement in principle have not been disclosed, NCBA is encouraged that today’s announcement means we are taking necessary steps to secure long-term solutions that enable American cattle producers to continue providing Japanese consumers with high-quality US beef at competitive prices,” said Kent Bacus, senior director of international trade and market access for the NCBA. “NCBA greatly appreciates Ambassador Tai’s leadership and the hard work of negotiators who have been working on this effort for the past year.”

North American Meat Institute also shared its support for the agreement. 

“The Meat Institute welcomes this agreement that will help the US beef industry earn greater market access to Japan,” said Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “The Meat Institute thanks the Biden Administration for their dedicated work securing this deal.”