Numerous agricultural groups applauded the United States’ decision to welcome Japan into Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade negotiations.
“Japan greatly enhances the potential value of the TPP to U.S. dairy producers and processors,” said Jaime Castaneda, senior vice president for strategic initiatives and trade policy for The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF). “Japan is the third-largest economy in the world and already a major dairy importer. Reducing excessive tariffs and removing non-tariff barriers to trade will significantly increase U.S. dairy export opportunities, which helps drive overall U.S. dairy industry growth.”
U.S. suppliers shipped $284 million worth of cheese, whey proteins, milk powder and other dairy products to Japan in 2012. It is the fifth-largest U.S. dairy export market, despite substantial market access barriers in many of the biggest dairy categories.
The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office officially notified Congress of the American government’s intention to enter into TPP trade talks in 2009. At that time, it did so with the idea that the TPP would eventually expand from the initial eight participants —Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam — to the entire Asia-Pacific, thus expanding the economic significance of the deal.
“As a major U.S. trading partner, Japan would bolster the reach of the TPP for U.S. agriculture,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “As the fourth-largest U.S. agricultural export market, with nearly $14 billion in purchases in 2012, trade with Japan is important to America’s farmers and ranchers. Both the United States and Japan will benefit from Japan being a TPP partner, and by sharing in improved sanitary and phytosanitary standards for agricultural trade and expanded market access with TPP nations.”
Japan needs approval from all current TPP participants before officially joining the group. Although the United States has endorsed Japan’s participation now, it is expected that the rest of the TPP partners will soon follow suit. The 17th round of negotiations takes place May 15-24 in Lima, Peru. Japan will join the actual negotiations 90 days after the United States notifies Congress of their intent to enter into negotiations with Japan.
“Japan is an important ally to the United States and we hope this will strengthen the ties between our two nations,” said Bob McCan, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president-elect. “We urge the U.S. government and the government of Japan to continue working together to establish international trade standards based on sound science and market-driven principles. The TPP has the potential to be a new era in global trade where all TPP countries can compete for consumer demand without the hindrance of protectionism.”
On Feb. 1, 2013, Japan implemented new import protocols allowing U.S. beef from cattle harvested under 30 months in age. This was an important step forward to improve market access for U.S. beef into Japan, which previously limited imports to beef from cattle under 21 months in age. Currently, the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam are involved in the TPP negotiations.