Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has indicated that the U.S. will be looking for better trade terms for agricultural products being exported to the Japanese market. Japanese officials have indicated the country would not be allowing any extra access for American farm goods than what is given to other countries in current trade agreements.
“We think frankly that we are a better ally of Japan than the European Union is and we would expect to have an equal or better deal than Japan gave the European Union regarding agriculture,” said Secretary Perdue.
Under the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, Japan will rescind tariffs on wine and some cheeses. Over the next 15 years, tariffs on both pork and beef will be significantly reduced from nearly 39 percent to 9 percent. The agreement is tentatively set to take effect in the coming year.
In late September President Donald Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New York where they agreed to begin working on a trade deal between the two countries. “We’ve agreed today to start trade negotiations between the United States and Japan. This was something that, for various reasons over the years, Japan was unwilling to do, and now they are willing to do so. We’re very happy about that, and I’m sure that we’ll come to a satisfactory conclusion,” said President Trump.
Negotiating better trade terms with Japan would bring tremendous benefits to American farmers. According to USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, there were $11.9 billion in American agricultural exports to Japan in 2017. That rate of trade made Japan the fourth largest agricultural market for U.S. goods and showed nearly 17 percent growth in value over the past ten years. It is still extremely early in the process but establishing a trade agreement on par with the deal between Japan and the EU would prove considerably valuable for U.S. agriculture.