trade agreements

California Producers Set for Success with Better Access to Japan

Brian German Exports/Imports, Trade

California farmers and ranchers should see some noticeable benefits from the latest trade deal that has been agreed to with Japan.  President Donald Trump recently signed the new trade deal with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week in New York, noting that “Japanese tariffs will now be significantly lower or eliminated completely on beef, pork, wheat, cheese, corn, wine and so much more.” The trade deal with Japan will benefit several California crops as highlighted by Deputy Agriculture Secretary Steve Censky.

japan“Japan is the third-largest market for American agricultural products,” President and CEO of Western Growers Tom Nassif said in a news release.  “The elimination of tariffs on produce products such as almonds, blueberries, walnuts, broccoli and prunes – as well as the staged tariff elimination for additional products like cherries and oranges – will result in significant export opportunities for our members and the broader fresh produce industry.”

The agreement is said to lower or eliminate tariffs on close to half of all American agricultural and food exports to Japan.  The trade deal will phase out a 32 percent tariff on all oranges entering the Japanese market.  “The new market access agreement immediately puts California fresh citrus in a position equal to the agreement reached previously between Japan and other nations,” CCM President Casey Creamer said in the statement.

Walnut producers will also see significant benefits from the Japanese trade deal, as the country is the fourth-largest market for California walnuts valued at more than $90 million annually.  The market has expanded more than 44 percent over the previous five years, despite a 10 percent tariff which will immediately be eliminated under the new agreement. 

Other commodity groups have also issued varying levels of support and enthusiasm for the new trade agreement and what California producers stand to gain from the increased access to the Japanese market.  The Wine Institute, as well as the California Prune Board, have each noted that the trade deal will level the playing field for California products.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West