A revised trade agreement could be good for the swine and beef sectors
By Diego Flammini
The United States is ready to enter trade discussions with its fourth-largest ag purchaser.
“We’ve agreed today to start trade negotiations between the United States and Japan,” President Trump said yesterday during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Japan purchased US$11.9-billion worth of American ag products in 2017. Only Mexico, China and Canada imported more American farm goods that year, the USDA says.
Livestock producers may have the most to gain from an updated trade agreement.
The U.S. exported US$1.6-billion worth of pork to Japan last year.
Japan currently imposes tariffs of up to 20 percent on pork imports. These meat shipments are also subject to the country’s gate price system, which imposes a minimum import price on swine products.
Importers must pay the difference between the shipment’s value and the regulated minimum price.
The swine industry will advocate for reduced tariffs, said David Warner, a spokesman with the National Pork Producers Council.
“Japan is a very important market for U.S. pork producers,” he told Farms.com. “If we can get a good deal, this is going to help the industry immensely. I know that we’re going to push for the same deal the U.S. has gotten in other trade agreements, which is zero tariffs on pork coming in from the U.S.”
Beef farmers could also benefit from an updated trade agreement.
U.S. beef currently faces import duties of 38.5 percent to enter the Japanese market.
American negotiators need to try and have those tariffs reduced or eliminated, said Danni Beer, a beef producer from Keldron, S.D. and past president of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association.
“Any lowering of tariffs would help U.S. beef and U.S. farmers be more competitive in a global marketplace,” she told Farms.com. “We need our negotiators to help level the playing field for farmers right now.”
MicroStockHub/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo