The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has confirmed that initial meetings aimed at reaching a trade agreement with Japan will be held April 15-16.
U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) President and CEO Dan Halstrom notes that it is extremely important for rapid progress to be made in these negotiations if U.S. beef and pork are to remain competitive in the largest value destination for U.S. red meat.
Halstrom points out that U.S. beef is already at a significant tariff rate disadvantage in Japan compared to its largest competitors - including Australia - that are part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Other major beef suppliers participating in CPTPP are Canada, New Zealand and Mexico.
Japan imposes an import duty of 38.5% on U.S. beef, while the rate for CPTPP countries is 26.6%. The CPTPP rate will decline to 9% over the next 14 years.
On the pork side, the U.S. industry is disadvantaged not only by CPTPP (where the major pork suppliers are Canada, Mexico and Chile) but also by a new economic partnership agreement between Japan and the European Union. Halstrom notes that the most immediate impact of these two agreements is the reduction of Japan's tariff rates for seasoned ground pork and processed pork products.
Seasoned ground pork from the U.S. faces a 20% duty in Japan compared to 13.3% for EU and CPTPP suppliers, and their rate will fall to zero by 2023. The CPTPP and EU duty rates for sausages entering Japan will also fall to zero by 2023 and for ham and bacon the rate will reach zero by 2028.