A U.S. trade agreement with Japan that, once implemented, will put U.S. pork on a level playing field with international competitors is an important step for Iowa pork producers, says the Iowa Pork Producers Association. The agreement was announced at the G7 summit in France during a press conference with U.S. President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Japan is one of the top markets in both value and dollars for U.S. pork. Dr. Dermot Hayes, an economist at Iowa State University, estimates exports to Japan will grow from $1.6 billion in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion over the next 15 years as a result of the United States pork industry getting market access in Japan as favorable as its competitors.
Japan represented 25 percent of total U.S. pork exports in 2018. Japan was the leading value destination for U.S. pork; during the first six months of 2019, exports to Japan were 4% below last year’s pace in volume and down 6% in value.
President Trump and Prime Minister Abe are expected to sign the agreement next month when they meet in New York, according to the White House.
“This announcement is great news for Iowa pork producers. Japan has been very loyal to U.S. pork, and under the current tariff structure, U.S. pork was having a hard time competing,” IPPA said.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation said “Favorable access to Japan is a major win, not only for the U.S. red meat industry but for all of U.S. agriculture and for our nation’s rural economy.”
“The United States produces the safest, highest-quality and most affordable pork in the world,” said IPPA. “It is the preference of many Japanese customers and we look forward to competing on a level playing field again.”
Other trade priorities for Iowa and national pork producers include ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement, which preserves zero-tariff pork trade in North America, and resolving trade disputes with China that will enable U.S. pork producers to capitalize on an unprecedented sales opportunity with the world’s largest pork-consuming nation.