TOKYO – The Japanese Government’s Upper House approved the US-Japan Trade Agreement on Dec. 4.

In October, the trade deal was officially signed by US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minster Shinzō Abe.

“With the US-Japan trade agreement now approved by the Japanese Parliament, the US beef and pork industries look forward to expanded opportunities in Japan, which is already the largest value destination for US pork and beef exports,” said US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) president and CEO Dan Halstrom. “This agreement is one of the biggest developments in the history of red meat trade, as no international market delivers greater benefits to US farmers and ranchers, and to the entire US supply chain, than Japan.”

In the US-Japan Trade Agreement, Japan has committed to provide substantial market access to US 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 Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement.

Many US agriculture associations support this new deal as it levels the playing field with other countries that are a part of the CPTPP.

According to the US Dept. of Agriculture, out of the $14.1 billion in U.S. food and agricultural products imported by Japan in 2018, $5.2 billion were already duty free. Under this first-stage initial tariff agreement, Japan will eliminate or reduce tariffs on an additional $7.2 billion of US food and agricultural products.

In November, more than 30 US food and agriculture groups submitted a letter to the US House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee urging support for the swift implementation of a Phase One US- Japan Trade Agreement that was negotiated earlier this year.