Pork and Beef Victory: U.S. and Japan Agree on Trade Principles

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Pork and beef producers are celebrating a U.S. trade agreement with Japan that once implemented will help return U.S. pork and beef to a level playing field in the world’s most competitive red meat import market. 

The agreement was announced on Sunday at the G7 summit in France during a press conference with U.S. President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. According to Reuters, Trump and Abe said they hoped to sign the agreement in New York next month.

U.S. pork depends highly on exports, shipping more than 25% of total production to foreign markets. Dr. Dermot Hayes, an economist at Iowa State University, estimates exports to Japan will grow from $1.6 billion in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion over the next 15 years as a result of the U.S. pork industry gaining market access in Japan as favorable as its competitors, a National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) release said.

“We look forward to rapid implementation of the agreement as international competitors are currently taking U.S. pork market share through more favorable access," said David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C., and NPPC president. "The United States produces the safest, highest-quality and most affordable pork in the world. It is the preference of many Japanese customers and we look forward to competing on a level playing field again." 

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) also applauded the agreement. 

“Today is an exciting day for America’s cattlemen and cattlewomen," said NCBA president Jennifer Houston. "President Trump and his trade team have delivered another great victory for the U.S. beef industry by expanding market access to Japan, our top export market. Last year, Japanese consumers purchased over $2 billion of U.S. beef, accounting for roughly one-quarter of overall U.S. beef exports. Removing the massive 38.5% tariff on U.S. beef will level the playing field in Japan.”

Favorable access to Japan is a major win, not only for the U.S. red meat industry but for all of U.S. agriculture and for our nation's rural economy, said U.S. Meat Export Federation president and CEO Dan Halstrom.  

“It is also a very positive development for our customer base in Japan, which USMEF and our industry partners have spent decades building. These customers have been very loyal to U.S. pork and beef, but our exports to Japan could not reach their full potential under Japan's current tariff structure,” Halstrom said.

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