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Free Trade Agreements

Free trade agreements play a major role in international red meat exports. See tabs below for USMEF summaries and analysis on the impact of U.S. trade agreements for U.S. red meat exports. 

The U.S.-Japan trade agreement was signed Oct. 7, 2019 by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Ambassador to the United States Shinsuke Sugiyama. Following ratification by the Japanese Parliament, the agreement entered into force Jan. 1, 2020.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released several fact sheets on the agreement, including Agricultural Provisions, Provisions Related to Pork and Pork Products, and Provisions Related to Beef and Beef Products.

USTR also posted the agreement’s full text online, along with side letters of interest for Safeguards and U.S. Imports of Japanese Beef.

Key provisions of the agreement include:

Upon implementation the agreement will return U.S. beef and pork to a level playing field in Japan, reducing tariffs to the same rates as those currently being paid by Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) suppliers and the European Union, through their respective agreements.

Japan’s tariffs on U.S. pork muscle cuts will be eliminated over nine years. Tariffs on most processed pork products, including the 20% tariff on ground seasoned pork, will be phased to zero over five years and for ham and bacon over 10 years. The maximum duty for product entering below the gate price will decline from 482 yen/kg to 125 yen upon implementation and to 50 yen/kg over nine years. Japan’s World Trade Organization (WTO) pork safeguard will no longer be applicable to U.S. pork, as Japan will create a new transitional safeguard mechanism for chilled and frozen pork similar to the one included in CPTPP. Further details are outlined in USTR’s pork fact sheet, the side letter on safeguards and the USMEF slides posted below.

Japan’s tariffs on U.S. chilled and frozen beef cuts are reduced from 38.5% to 9% percent over 15 years. Tariffs on beef tongues decline from 12.8% to zero by 2028 and for other offals by 2030. Tariffs on processed beef products are phased to zero in five to 15 years, depending on the product. U.S. chilled and frozen beef cuts will be subject to an annual U.S.-specific safeguard that begins at 242,000 mt and increases according to the schedule outlined in USTR’s beef fact sheet. A safeguard consultation mechanism unique to this agreement is also included, as detailed in the beef fact sheet, the side letter on safeguards and the USMEF slides posted below.

USMEF has documented Beef & Pork Tariff & Safeguard Details slides outlining key details of the agreement. For questions, please contact Erin Borror.