Speaking at a public hearing on the potential economic impact of a US-Japan bilateral trade agreement, NCBA president Kevin Kester stated that reducing tariff and non-tariff trade barriers would benefit Japanese consumers and US cattle producers.
Japan is one of the top export markets for US beef, accounting for nearly US$2 billion in sales in 2017. However, US beef exports face tariffs as high as 50% under some circumstances.
“NCBA strongly supports prioritising and expediting negotiations for a US-Japan Trade Agreement,” said Kester. “The US beef industry is at risk of losing significant market share in Japan unless immediate action is taken to level the playing field.”
He warned that a number of key US competitors have negotiated agreements that provide their producers with preferential access to the Japanese market.
Kester cited the example of how, under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Australian beef exporters will enjoy a tariff reduction of 27.5% in the first year of the agreement for fresh and frozen products. In most cases, the countries who are part of CPTPP will see their tariff rates for beef exports decline to 9% over the next 15 years. In addition to CPTPP, Japan is moving ahead with a trade agreement that will give European Union beef producers similar terms to those negotiated in CPTPP.
“NCBA supported the negotiated compromise under Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) because it reduced the massive tariff applied to US beef, diminished the likelihood of triggering snap back tariffs, and established strong, objective, and predictable sanitary and phytosanitary standards and other rules-based trade standards,” Kester added. “We expect nothing less under a US-Japan Trade Agreement.”