US and Japan to begin trade talks today

Preliminary trade negotiations between the US and Japan are
scheduled to begin today. 

Japan is the largest value market for US beef and pork and US
Meat Export Federation president and CEO Dan Halstrom says rapid progress on
these talks is extremely important.  “Even
though we are setting records today on beef into Japan, we are at a severe
disadvantage because we are not part of the CPTPP,” he says.  “With the most recent decrease in duties for
the CPTPP countries being April 1st – each we that we go we will become
more of a disadvantrage.”

Japan imposes an import duty of 38.5 percent on US beef, while the rate for countries that are part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is 26.6 percent and is set to decline to 9 percent over the next 14 years.

In addition to the CPTPP, a new economic partnership between
Japan and the European Union (EU) is putting US pork at an even greater disadvantage.  “Europe is our largest competitor in Japan,”
he says.  “We have two categories in
particular that are already seeing dramatic impacts today,” he says.  “One is seasoned ground pork and we’re
already seeing our shares erode.  The other
area is the pork processed meats area.”

Seasoned ground pork from the US faces at 20 percent duty in Japan compared to 13.3 percent for the EU and CPTPP suppliers and its set to drop to zero by 2023.

Beef and pork exports to Japan are valued at more than
3.5-billion-dollars annually.