The United States is moving forward on making a bilateral free trade agreement with Japan. This is a move which is positive for agriculture in the United States, as it gives us a solid future with one of our strongest trading partners. However, some prep work still remains.
While visiting Des Moines last week, Chief Ag Negotiator Gregg Doud had this to say about the on-going process in building a trade agreement with Japan.
Doud wasn’t kidding. Hearings began on Monday. US Meat Export Federation’s President and CEO Dan Halstrom was ready to testify at that hearing, citing the value of beef and pork exported to Japan each year.
Halstrom says it is imperative we get this deal done because our competitors in the Japanese markets already have their deals moving forward.
Halstrom says with the agreements the European Union and Canada have with Japan, their pork import duties will drop to zero percent in five years. This will put the U.S. at a severe disadvantage. Without a trade deal, we will be stuck at a 20 percent duty.
As the largest hog producing state, Iowa has a lot riding on the future of a trade agreement with Japan.