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U.S. Ag Follows Japan Announcement with Trade Mission

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It’s not a long-awaited trade deal with China, or a finally ratified USMCA, but it’s important, nonetheless. The U.S. and Japan recently announced an agreement in principle on trade between the two countries, an agreement that does involve agricultural products. U.S. Meat Export Federation President Dan Halstrom says there is a lot of enthusiasm in the Japanese market about the pending agreement.

“We are operating at a disadvantage at the moment with 12% duty disadvantage for the U.S. vs. some of our key competitors like Australia, Canada and Mexico, and also we’re at a disadvantage on the pork side,� he said. “Seasoned ground pork about as 7 percent duty disadvantage, as well as processed meats at a disadvantage. We’re happy to say that the trade here in Japan is very enthusiastic about the prospect of getting on a level playing field sooner rather than later.�

Halstrom was among those on a trade mission in Japan this week. The group also included state farm bureaus, state corn growers, pork producer and soybean organizations, along with state departments of agriculture. Like many other ag organizations, Halstrom says USMEF is already working with Japanese importers on how to regain some lost U.S. market share.

“We’re already talking with some of the major importers about how we can help them regain lost share. We have different strategies with the different sectors, national retail vs. regional retail vs. food service. They all vary a little bit. The key point here is we have commitments from our major funding sources, both checkoff as well as some of our government revenue for this very purpose, to be ready when we’re on a level playing field in Japan to regain some of that lost share.�

Cevin Jones is an Idaho cattle feeder and the USMEF Chair-Elect. He says beef checkoff dollars are helping U.S. beef make inroads into the Japanese market.

“We’ve got checkoff dollars that we’re using to leverage what we’re doing here in Japan,� Jones said. “It’s great to see those checkoff dollars and how they’re being utilized and providing leverage over here promoting beef products. Yesterday we had a barbeque event with Japanese consumers, and we had a really good showing. It was great to see the enthusiasm.�

He said Japanese consumers had a great time learning how to barbeque, a smart way to gain market share.

Source: NAFB News

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