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With his signature, President Donald Trump recently signaled a new era with a trade agreement between the United States and Japan.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-KS, applauded the pact.

“The trade agreement between the United States and Japan is a win for Kansas farmers and ranchers. Japan is the second largest export market for agricultural products from Kansas and this agreement will result in even greater market access for beef, wheat, sorghum and pork, and put American producers on a level playing field with our foreign competitors,” Moran said. “It will also benefit Kansas dairy producers by expanding cheese exports, and will eliminate tariffs on certain types of ethanol.

"As farmers and ranchers continue to struggle with low commodity prices, we must continue to find new export opportunities for the food, fuel and fiber produced in Kansas. I commend President Trump, Ambassador (Robert) Lighthizer and Ambassador (Gregg) Doud for their leadership in securing this much-needed victory for our producers.”

The signing of the trade agreement comes after President Trump and Japanese President Shinzo Abe reached an agreement in principle in August, and then finalized negotiations on Sept. 25, Moran said. This signed, finalized agreement reduces tariffs on a wide range of agricultural and food products, as well as digital goods and software. This agreement covers roughly $55 billion in trade and is part of larger, ongoing negotiations between the two countries that spans a range of various industries and products. 

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston issued the following statement after attending a White House ceremony in honor of the bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Japan that will lower Japan’s massive tariffs on U.S. beef.

“I was deeply honored to attend the ceremony at the White House where we celebrated a bilateral trade agreement with Japan. As the top market for U.S. beef exports, Japan accounts for one quarter of our exports and roughly $2 billion in annual sales. As a beef producer, I understand the value of exports to my bottom line, and President Trump understands that increased access to foreign markets like Japan is the economic stimulus we need. We are grateful for President Trump’s leadership and for the hard work of our trade negotiators who fought hard to strengthen our access to the Japanese market. Because of their efforts, future generations of American ranching families will benefit from trade with Japan.”

Houston hailed the announcement as an important step forward for the U.S. beef industry.

“For the past few years, U.S. beef producers have benefitted greatly from growing demand for U.S. beef in Japan. While Japanese consumers enjoy high quality U.S. beef, they unfortunately pay a higher price for U.S. beef due to the massive 38.5 percent tariff. Removing that tariff allows more Japanese consumers to enjoy more U.S. beef at a more competitive price. Today’s announcement is welcome news for American families who produce U.S. beef and Japanese families who purchase it.”

In 2018, Japanese consumers purchased $2.07 billion of U.S. beef. Currently, U.S. beef faces a massive 38.5% tariff in Japan, while competitors from Australia, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand face a 26.6% tariff. Leveling the playing field in Japan is a top priority for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

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