Clements: The announcement of a trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan means more market access for U.S. farmers and ranchers, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. While the agreement itself is not yet finished enough to be signed, the U.S. and Japan Wednesday signed an intent to agree. Dave Salmonsen, AFBF Senior Congressional Relations Director, says the agreement levels the playing field for U.S. ag exports into Japan.
Salmonsen: For agriculture, the fact that the U.S. and Japan are signing a trade deal is a win, especially for our exports. We already sell about $13 billion a year to Japan of a variety of products, but we’re fearful of seeing that erode if we don’t have this trade deal.
Clements: The agreement lowers tariffs over time on U.S. agricultural products. Salmonsen says exports to Japan may increase by $3 billion.
Salmonsen: We will be even with our competitors and we should see good increases in our beef competitiveness into Japan. Pork tariffs are going to go down, have more access for dairy, and our wheat producers were concerned about falling behind our competitors. So, the fact that we’ll be in there again with the same tariff as other countries, should shore up what has always been a good market for wheat into Japan.
Clements: Japan’s legislative body must approve the agreement once finalized. Salmonsen says farmers and ranchers may start benefiting from the agreement next year.
Salmonsen: If the Japanese Parliament does everything they need to do this fall we could see this agreement go into effect on January first. And this will also be a really good signal for other countries we are negotiating with that the U.S. can close out trade agreements.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.