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Japan Approves Ag and Digital Trade Deal with U.S.

Beginning on January 1, Japan will lower or eliminate tariffs on $7.2 billion worth of U.S. farm exports under a “mini” trade pact that received final approval in Japan’s parliament, the Diet, on Wednesday. The trade agreement, which also covers digital goods, puts U.S. ag products, for the most part, on the same footing as exports from the TPP 11 nations.

“We expect the president to sign the implementing proclamation for the United States next week,” said U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer. “Now U.S. farmers and ranchers will have significantly improved access to Japan’s market, and America’s leadership in the growing digital economy will continue to flourish to the benefit of all our workers.” The two nations are committed to further trade talks in early 2020.

The Kyodo news service said that under the trade pact, the tariff on U.S. beef would gradually fall to 9% from the current 38.5%. Pork, poultry, wheat, cheese, wine, ethanol, and other goods will also see lower tariffs. Japan, the No. 3 market for U.S. farm exports, is forecast to import $12.5 billion worth of them this fiscal year.

While the agreement puts most U.S. farm exports on the same tariff schedule as the TPP 11, which includes Canada and Australia, dairy products and rice were left out, said an analysis by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

The American Farm Bureau Federation applauded Japanese approval of the agreement and, like many other farm groups, called again for congressional approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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