US-Japan trade deal aims to put US farmers on par with Trans-Pacific trade pact competitors

The new US-Japan trade deal will provide staged reduction of Japanese tariffs for more than $2 billion worth of US beef and pork, matching access now granted to the 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact countries, a text of the agreement shows.
calendar icon 8 October 2019
clock icon 3 minute read

Reuters reported that US President Donald Trump presided over a White House signing ceremony on Monday for the final text of the limited bilateral trade pact, more then 2-1/2 years after he pulled the United States out of the much broader TPP.

The move left US farmers and food producers at a disadvantage in the Japanese market to competitors from Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and the US-Japan deal aims to even that playing field by cutting Japanese tariffs on many of those products.

The US Trade Representative’s office said the pact would immediately eliminate Japan’s tariffs on US food and agricultural imports valued at about $1.3 billion per year, including almonds, blueberries, cranberries, walnuts, sweet corn, lactose, milk albumin, grain sorghum, food supplements, broccoli and prunes.

It said an additional $3 billion worth of products would benefit from staged tariff elimination, matching access conditions in the TPP. That group includes processed pork, beef offal, frozen poultry, wine, frozen potatoes, oranges, fresh cherries, cheese and whey, ethanol, egg products and tomato paste.

The deal will restore a country-specific tariff free quota for US wheat that will grow to 150,000 metric tons over six years, matching TPP, and Japan will reduce its markup on imported US wheat by 45 percent to the same levels as TPP countries.

Barley will see access to Japan partially restored to TPP levels with a 45 percent reduction in markup over eight years, and Japan will establish new country-specific quotas for US unroasted malt. But the deal does not provide the United States access to a TPP-wide quota that grows to 65,000 tons over nine years.

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