Big News Arrives this Week as White House Announces US-Japan Bilateral Trade Deal in the WorksThu, 27 Sep 2018 10:11:24 CDT
Wednesday brought good news for the US cattle industry and really all of agriculture with an announcement from the White House that Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump have come to an agreement to pursue a bilateral trade deal between the two nations. Kent Bacus, director of international trade and market access for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association spoke with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays about the news that has been long hoped for since the President pulled the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations upon taking office.
“It is very exciting news. They are going to try to move as quickly as possible. Both leaders still have to go back and get further permissions from their governments, but it looks like we could see those negotiations start pretty soon,” Bacus said. “For the US beef industry this is a very welcome development, because Japan is our biggest export market.”
According to Bacus, Japan accounts for nearly $2 billion in trade for the industry representing roughly one quarter of the overall export value of beef cattle at approximately $75 per head. Bacus says the US and its competitors at present are each subject to a 38.5 percent tariff in Japan’s marketplace. However, many of those competitors are members of the TPP and will see their tariff rates ratchet down in the near future to just nine percent, while the US remains at 38.5 percent, putting American producers at a stark disadvantage. The prospect of a bilateral deal though gives hope that the US will be able to secure equally favorable terms or even better perhaps. While Japan has been hesitant to enter into a bilateral with the US, holding out hopes that the US would rejoin the TPP, Abe’s reelection this past allowed the Prime Minister the certainty he needed to open this dialogue. Bacus says the only problem now is our own elections here at home and how that will play out for the Republican led government. For now, though, the process is just beginning.
“So, we’ve got a long way to go to get the ball rolling, but this is a very important development for us,” Bacus said. “I think this shows that they’re willing to sit down and work with the US and develop a strong economic partnership with the US. This is a very positive development and something we strongly support.”
Listen to Bacus and Hays discuss this new development in US trade relations and the current outlook on talks moving forward, on today’s Beef Buzz.
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