The United States’ trading relationship with Japan will look a little different this year.
American and Japanese officials in December reached a limited trade agreement. The deal seeks to provide U.S. exporters greater access to Japan, a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member nation.
An experienced trade professional speaks to the agreement, as well as what it means for American producers and Japanese customers.
Jesse Austin in December made his first international visit since joining the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) in October. Prior to joining USMEF, Austin focused on international trade and development.
“For the past 17 years, I’ve represented the U.S. pork packer segment.” Austin said. “With Smithfield Foods, I served two years in Tokyo, when we opened a Tokyo-based office. At the time, we anticipated TPP to happen. We were trying to be proactive and put boots on the ground. I served two years there, working directly with customers to learn how they’re using American products, how the products work for them and how we could improve our service.”
Austin visited Tokyo, as officials penned the limited U.S./Japan trade agreement. Many parties expressed optimism during this time, according to Austin.
“Optimism not only from the end user, but among our staff in Tokyo. Everybody is excited about the future in Japan. “We’re going to employ more face time with end users, and coordinate with suppliers and distributors to recapture some of the market share we lost,” Austin said.
Austin says, “Having the trade situation resolved puts the focus back on the product itself.” He and his team look forward to promoting U.S. red meats in Japan, one of “America’s most consistent and reliable trading partners for agriculture.”