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U.S.- Japan Trade Agreement

In early August 2018, USTR held its first round of trade talks with counterparts from Japan.

In this report, USMEF summarizes the potential losses that could occur as a result of Japan entering preferential trade agreements with key competitors.

UPDATE: Following their summit meeting in New York in September 2018, President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the U.S. and Japan will enter negotiations on a trade agreement.

USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued the following statement:

Japan is the leading value market for U.S. beef and pork, and there is tremendous room for further export growth. But for that to happen, tariff relief is absolutely essential so that U.S. red meat is on a level playing field with our main competitors. USMEF is very encouraged by the commitment to open negotiations on a U.S.-Japan trade agreement, with specific inclusion of agricultural market access. We hope to see rapid progress in these negotiations.

UPDATE: On Oct. 16, 2018, USTR notified Congress that the Trump administration intends to negotiate three separate trade agreements with Japan, the European Union and the United Kingdom.

In November 2018, USMEF filed comments with USTR on a proposed U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, emphasizing the critical importance of the Japanese market and the urgent need to restore competitiveness of U.S. red meat products versus major competitors as Japan moves forward with implementation of the CPTPP and the Japan-EU EPA. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom testified at USTR’s public hearing on this issue on Dec. 10, 2018. The USMEF Board of Directors also recently approved a resolution expressing support for timely negotiation of a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement.

On Dec. 21, 2018, USTR released its negotiating objectives for a U.S.-Japan agreement.

UPDATE: On the sidelines of a G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, in early July 2019, the U.S. and Japan agreed to intensify working-level meetings in an effort to accelerate progress towards a trade agreement. The latest round of ministerial-level meetings between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi took place Aug. 1-2, 2019.

UPDATE: On Aug. 25, 2019, President Trump announced an agreement in principle that will greatly improve access for U.S. red meat in Japan – the largest value destination for U.S. pork and beef exports. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued this statement:

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. 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.

USMEF thanks the Trump administration for prioritizing trade negotiations with Japan, and especially the officials at USTR and USDA who worked tirelessly to secure this agreement. Favorable access to Japan is a major win, not only for the U.S. red meat industry but for all of U.S. agriculture and for our nation’s rural economy.

UPDATE: On Sept. 16, 2019, the Trump administration notified Congress that it has reached an initial trade agreement regarding tariff barriers with Japan and that it intends to enter into the agreement “in the coming weeks.”

UPDATE: On Sept. 25, 2019, President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced completion of the initial trade agreement, which will greatly improve access for U.S. red meat in Japan.

USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued this statement:

With Japan being the largest value destination for U.S. pork and beef exports (combined export value in 2018 was $3.7 billion), there is no market more critical to the profitability and prosperity of the U.S. red meat industry. It is therefore imperative that we achieve a level playing field for U.S. pork and beef in Japan, so that the U.S. industry can further expand its customer base in this increasingly competitive market. Today’s announcement is not only excellent news for U.S. farmers and ranchers, but also for Japanese consumers who will have greater access to U.S. pork and beef products.

USMEF thanks the Trump administration for prioritizing trade negotiations with Japan and for securing this agreement, which is a major step forward for the U.S. pork and beef industries and for all of U.S. agriculture.


UPDATE: On Oct. 7, 2019, the U.S.-Japan trade agreement that was announced Sept. 25 was signed by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Ambassador to the United States Shinsuke Sugiyama. USMEF summarized key provisions of the agreement in this bulletin to USMEF members, which also includes links to USTR fact sheets. Before it can be implemented, the agreement must be ratified by the Japanese Parliament.

UPDATE: On Oct. 15, 2019, the recently signed U.S.-Japan trade agreement received cabinet-level approval in Japan, clearing the way for consideration by the Japanese Parliament.

UPDATE: The Lower House of the Japanese Parliament approved the agreement on Nov. 19, 2019, and the Upper House of the Japanese Parliament approved it on Dec. 4, 2019, clearing the way for the agreement to take effect in January 2020. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued this media statement.

UPDATE: The agreement entered into force Jan. 1, 2020. USMEF’s summary of its key provisions is available online.

UPDATE: U.S. beef and pork received a second round of tariff rate reductions on April 1, 2020, the beginning of the Japanese fiscal year.