In a year when news on the international trade front generally brings more uncertainty than cheers, President Trump announced August 25 that an agreement in principle had been struck that will greatly improve access for U.S. red meat in Japan - the largest value destination for U.S. beef and pork exports.
“This announcement is tremendous news for U.S. farmers and ranchers, and for everyone in the red meat supply chain, because it will level the playing field for U.S. pork and beef in the world's most competitive red meat import market, said U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) 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.
NCBA President Jennifer Houston echoed those sentiments, saying, “Today is an exciting day for America’s cattlemen and cattlewomen. 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, and we are very thankful to President Trump and his trade team for continuing to fight on behalf of America’s ranching families.”
According to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, “Japan is a significant market for United States agriculture exports, making today a good day for American agriculture. By removing existing barriers for our products, we will be able to sell more to the Japanese markets.
“At the same time, we will able to close gaps to better allow us to compete on a level playing field with our competitors. I thank President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for their constant support of America’s farmers and ranchers and their hard work negotiating better trade deals around the globe.”