WASHINGTON — Year-long negotiations come to an end with the United States and Japan officially signing a trade deal on Oct. 7. The agreement opens markets and will support expansion of U.S. food and agricultural exports, increase farm income, generate more rural economic activity, and promote job growth.
The deal, previously announced last month, includes Japan eliminating or reducing tariffs on U.S. food and agricultural products.
Many U.S. agriculture associations support this new deal as it levels the playing field with other countries that are a part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (C.P.T.P.P.).
“As we hoped, the text confirms that the agreement will put U.S. wheat back on equal footing with wheat from Canada and Australia when it is implemented,” said Vince Peterson, president of U.S. Wheat Associates (U.S. Wheat). Mr. Peterson attended the event at the White House. “In addition, Japan has agreed to open country specific quotas for U.S. wheat and wheat product imports. The Trump administration and negotiators for both countries clearly understood what was at stake for U.S. wheat farmers and made sure to have our backs in this agreement.”
According to the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), U.S. wheat represents about 50% of all the wheat Japan imports each year, currently valued at more than $600 million. That volume represents more than 10% of total annual U.S. wheat exports.
“NAWG is thrilled to be present during the signing of the U.S.-Japan tariff agreement, a major milestone for wheat growers,” said Ben Scholz, president of NAWG. “We would like to thank staff and leaders at U.S.T.R., U.S.D.A., and the administration for working with the wheat industry as this agreement nears the finish line.”
In the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, Japan has committed to provide substantial market access to U.S. food and agricultural products by eliminating tariffs, enacting meaningful tariff reductions, or allowing a specific quantity of imports at a low duty (generally zero). The tariff treatment for the products covered in this agreement will match the tariffs that Japan provides preferentially to countries in the C.P.T.P.P. agreement.
“Japan is the No. 2 buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing more than $2 billion in the most recent marketing year,” said Kevin Ross, president of the National Corn Growers Association (N.C.G.A.). “This is a high-value market for our livestock industry, therefore, also a major purchaser of U.S. corn through exported meats. N.C.G.A. has been a longtime supporter of trade with Japan. With many farmers struggling amid some challenging times, this is some much-needed good news. This agreement reaffirms and builds on our trading relationship with Japan and NCGA looks forward to continued work for a successful Phase 2 of these important negotiations.”
The U.S. Grains Council (U.S.G.C.) is encouraged by the signing and what it will do for the corn market.
“I was very pleased to join President Trump and other U.S. agriculture leaders at the White House today for the signing of the agreement recently negotiated to solidify our country’s trade relationship with Japan,” said Darren Armstrong, chairman of the U.S.G.C. “This agreement provides certainty and stability in our second largest corn market, brings sorghum imports to a zero tariff level immediately and reduces the import markup on barley. We anticipate additional market access measures related to ethanol to be addressed in the next round of negotiations with Japan coming soon.”
Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said the agreement is an important step forward with U.S. agriculture’s fourth-largest export market.
“Today’s signing marks the successful end to more than a year of negotiation between Japan and the United States,” Mr. Duvall said. “This agreement means sharply lower tariffs on our farm and ranch exports with the promise of more to come. And while we aren’t yet finished opening this market, the conclusion of these talks means we can now trade with Japan with the same advantages enjoyed by signers of the C.P.T.P.P. trade agreement.
“We hope the momentum from this win carries through to the negotiations with China this week and sets the stage for similar bilateral agreements with other countries involved with the C.P.T.P.P. We appreciate this administration’s efforts to improve trade opportunities for farmers.”