Japan on Friday lifted longstanding restrictions on U.S. beef in an agreement announced by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. The move is expected to pave the way for expanded sales to the U.S.’s top beef export market.
"This is great news for American cattle producers, and Secretary Sonny Perdue and the Trump Administration deserve a lot of credit for helping knock down this non-tariff trade barrier in Japan,” says Jennifer Houston, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) president. “This underscores the safety of the U.S. beef herd, and it will hopefully send a signal to other Asian nations that non-science-based trade barriers like this one should be eliminated in their countries, as well.”
"Tariff rates grab all the headlines, but non-tariff barriers are often just as important, if not more so, when it comes to determining market access. Hopefully this will help spotlight this important point and lead to more trade victories in the near future,” she adds.
Last week, on the margins of the G-20 Agriculture Ministerial Meeting in Niigata, Japan, Secretary Perdue met with Japanese government officials, even taking an unusual approach by barbequing U.S. beef to sell the benefits of further trade between the two countries.
This expanded access could increase U.S. beef and beef product exports to Japan by up to $200 million annually.
Japan had been importing increasing amounts of beef from Canada and New Zealand this year, as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) was enacted.
The U.S. share of Japan's beef imports for January and February was 39%, compared with an average of 41% for all of 2018.
The agreement is also an important step in normalizing trade with Japan, as Japan further aligns its import requirements with international standards for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).