NEW YORK — The United States and Japan reached an agreement on Sept. 25 that will provide American farmers and ranchers with enhanced market access to Japan.

Japanese tariffs now will be significantly lower or eliminated entirely for U.S. beef, pork, wheat, cheese, corn, wine and other products, said President Donald Trump.

In a joint statement from the United States and Japan, Trump and Japan Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said they share the desire to implement the agreement as soon as possible.

“The United States-Japan Trade Agreement will eliminate or reduce tariffs on certain agricultural and industrial products to enhance bilateral trade in a robust, stable and mutually beneficial manner between our nations, which together account for approximately 30% of global gross domestic product,” the statement said.

Out of the $14.1 billion in U.S. food and agricultural products imported by Japan in 2018, $5.2 billion already were duty free. Under this first-stage initial tariff agreement, Japan will eliminate or reduce tariffs on an additional $7.2 billion of U.S. food and agricultural products.

In return, the United States will provide tariff elimination or reduction on 42 tariff lines for agricultural imports from Japan valued at $40 million in 2018. These products include flowers, persimmons, green tea, chewing gum, soy sauce and other items.

The agreement will not need congressional approval and is effective as soon as it is ratified by Japan’s legislature.

The Trump administration said the agreement is the first phase of a more comprehensive agreement that will be negotiated with Japan.

“This agreement between the United States and Japan is a better deal for the entire U.S. economy, but is a particularly big win for our farmers and ranchers,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

“When I visited Japan in May for the G20, I made it clear that the U.S. is Japan’s best customer and we felt that relationship was not reciprocal. This agreement helps level the playing field.”

Indiana ag leaders are pleased with the agreement.

“For Indiana farmers to remain sustainable and competitive, we need to maintain foreign markets for our crops,” said Sarah Delbecq, farmer and president of Indiana Corn Growers Association.

“This deal with Japan continues and strengthens the relationship between Hoosier corn farmers and an important trading partner.”

Erica Quinlan can be reached at 800-426-9438, ext. 193, or equinlan@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Quinlan.

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