Groups praise U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement
As details of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement became known, agricultural associations and produce industry groups have commented on the deal, with most applauding the administration for eliminating or lowering tariffs on a variety of agricultural goods.
The following individuals and groups have issued statements on the trade agreement with Japan:
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue:
“This agreement between the United States and Japan is a better deal for the entire U.S. economy, but is a particularly big win for our farmers and ranchers,” Perdue said in his statement. “When I visited Japan in May for the G20, I made it clear that the U.S. is Japan’s best customer and we felt that relationship was not reciprocal. This agreement helps level the playing field.”
The California Walnut Commission:
A 10% duty on shelled walnuts to Japan will be eliminated. With a value of more than $90 million each year, Japan is the fourth-leading market for California walnuts. In the past five years, the market has grown 44%, even with the 10% duty, according to the commission.
“Over the past three decades, the industry has invested over $58 million with the assistance of the USDA Market Access Program to develop the Japanese market and we eagerly anticipate the new opportunities for growth the agreement provides,” Jack Mariani, vice chairman of the California Walnut Commission’s Issues Management Committee, said in a statement.
Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers, said the agreement gives U.S. exporters an equal footing with members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Elimination of tariffs on almonds, blueberries, walnuts and other items, including phasing out of tariffs on cherries and oranges, will give exporters significant opportunities, Nassif said in the statement.
“We are also pleased to learn that President Trump and Prime Minister Abe have agreed to further negotiations to address the remaining non-tariff barriers to trade,” Nassif said in the statement. “Historically, Japan has used non-scientific sanitary and phytosanitary standards to prohibit many high-quality U.S. fruits, vegetables and tree nuts from entering the Japanese market.
“Therefore, to ensure the market gains secured in the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement are fully realized, we must continue to push for reform of the Japanese importation system,” he said in the statement.
California Citrus Mutual:
Casey Creamer, president of California Citrus Mutual, said the agreement, which phases out a 32% tariff on oranges, is “excellent news for the California citrus industry.”
“As Japan entered into agreements with other citrus producing trading partners, the California citrus industry was put at a competitive disadvantage,” Creamer said in the statement. “The new market access agreement immediately puts California fresh citrus in a position equal to the agreement reached previously between Japan and other nations."
From 2016 to 2018, California’s citrus exports dropped from 70,366 metric tons to 48,060 metric tons, according to California Citrus Mutual.
California Prune Board:
California grows almost all of the prunes in the U.S., and about 40% of the world’s supply, according to the California Prune Board.
“This new trade agreement will enable California Prunes and prune juice to compete more effectively in the Japanese market, a very important export market California Prunes, and we would like to thank the Trump administration for their hard work in negotiating this trade agreement.” Donn Zea, executive director of the California Prune Board, said in a statement.
Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee:
“The past two years have underscored just how important global trade is to agriculture and rural communities,” Peterson said in a statement. “I’m glad to see some progress made on tariff reductions in this agreement that will help American farmers and ranchers catch up on some of the access we lost when the administration pulled us out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
The agreement is only “a piece of the puzzle,” Peterson said in the statement, and that additional agreements with Japan will be necessary to make U.S. agriculture competitive in that market.