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U.S. asks Japan to cut ag tariffs in trade talks

U.S. asks Japan to cut ag tariffs in trade talks

Some U.S. ag already has free access to Japan

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Reducing tariffs on U.S. ag products needs to be part of a bilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan, President Trump said recently.

“We’ll be discussing, very strongly, agriculture,” the president told reporters Monday at the White House during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “Because, as the Prime Minister knows, Japan puts very massive tariffs on (U.S.) agriculture.”

Japan is the fourth-largest importer of U.S. ag commodities. The country’s ag imports from the United States totaled US$12.9 billion in 2018, the USDA says.

Several U.S. ag products already enjoy preferential market access to Japan.

Japan, for example, doesn’t charge tariffs on corn, soybeans or wheat, the American Farm Bureau Federation says.

But products like beef and dairy face 25 and 50 percent tariffs respectively.

President Trump has threatened a 25 percent tariff on Japanese cars if the country doesn’t open more of its market to U.S. ag products.

The U.S. has been on the outside looking in at the Japanese market since President Trump removed America from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) only three days into his presidency.

Getting a bilateral framework in place now is important to ensure U.S. producers benefit from access to Japan, said Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

“We want a quick resolution of our agricultural request here … maybe temporarily that could then be fleshed out over a longer period,” he told reporters Tuesday, Reuters reported.

U.S. farmers should receive the same market access as TPP members, he said.

Farms.com has reached out to the American Farm Bureau and the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council for comment.

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