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U.S., Japan reach trade agreement

Trade negotiations between the United States and Japan have led to an early agreement in the areas of market access for certain agriculture and industrial goods.

According to the Trump administration, the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement will provide America’s farmers and ranchers enhanced market access in America’s third largest agricultural export market and will enable American producers to compete more effectively with countries that currently have preferential tariffs in the Japanese market.

“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,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “I thank President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer for delivering on their promise to open markets around the world for America’s farmers and ranchers.”

Out of the $14.1 billion in U.S. food and agricultural products imported by Japan in 2018, $5.2 billion were already 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.

“Japan is American agriculture’s fourth-largest export destination and vital to the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of farms and the families who live on them,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “This agreement, once signed, will lower tariffs and put U.S. farmers and ranchers on a level playing field to compete in Japan with countries that participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That’s good news.”

Since this agreement does not require congressional approval, the details of the agreement will be finalized in the coming weeks with the goal to have it kick into operation Jan. 1, 2020.

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