As the trade war in China continues, the Trump Administration must look elsewhere for trade opportunities. Tapping into to other markets could be exactly what U.S. agriculture needs. However, one big question remains at the forefront – With whom and what agreements can be made to help the United State Agriculture Industry?
Trump Looks to Japan
Donald Trump is quick to take action with Japan to help U.S. Agriculture Markets. Yuko Takeo and Jenny Leonard of FarmProgress explain the importance of seeking this alternative market.
A deal with Japan has become more urgent after Trump further escalated the trade war with China, which has pledged to hit back with higher duties on American farm goods. China’s state media this week signaled a lack of interest in resuming trade talks with the U.S.
Unfortunately, Japanese leaders are in no rush to assist a President who has continuously threatened their country with higher tariffs.
Nonetheless, despite Japan’s slow movement on various trade topics, progress has been made for the Beef Industry. Sonny Perdue gives Trump credit for the recent agreement with Japan.
General rule of thumb is that you always get more credit when it’s something good and more blame when it’s bad. 🥩—>🇯🇵 would not have been possible without the leverage and leadership from @POTUS and @USTradeRep. https://t.co/7mXhAgLFtX
— Sec. Sonny Perdue (@SecretarySonny) May 20, 2019
This news came at a great time for U.S. agriculture. However, it took years of patience for the battle over beef to cease.
The Beef Dilemma
“Japan is the leading international destination for U.S. beef, Joe Schuele of Beef Magazine reports. “Exports last year exceeded $2 billion – almost one-fourth of the record $8.33 billion exported worldwide.”
This seems like a great chance for the U.S. to make profit on beef exports. Unfortunately, one longstanding trade restriction has been causing difficulties when it comes to exporting U.S. beef to Japan. In December 2003, Japan banned US beef products after detecting a BES (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) positive animal in the United States. Since then, there has been slow improvement between the countries. In 2005, Japan granted partial access for cattle 20 months and younger. In 2013, Japan again extended access, but only to include US beef and beef products from cattle less than 30 months of age.
Recent Announcement Creates Excitement
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Japan will lift its import restriction on US beef. Perdue explains how the news will effect U.S. Agriculture.
“This is great news for American ranchers and exporters who now have full access to the Japanese market for their high-quality, safe, wholesome, and delicious U.S. beef,” Secretary Perdue said.
Specifically, Japan eliminated the age restriction of beef for U.S. beef allowing beef products to enter the market. This new agreement will drive expansion of sales to Japan where all cattle, regardless of age, can be exported. Most of the U.S. beef exported to Japan will continue to be from fed cattle under 30 months of age. Still, opportunities for over-30-month beef products are substantial.
Huge success for US beef! https://t.co/9wKrqTaQH2
— National Cattlemen's (@BeefUSA) May 19, 2019
Beef muscle cuts from over-30-month cattle that are most likely to be successful with Japanese buyers include chuckeye rolls, short plat, short ribs, middle meats, and brisket. Furthermore, the ability to export cattle of all ages will lower costs for companies to export.
Lifting the restrictions of U.S beef exports was a step in the right direction. However, there is still room for much more needed progress to be made. The U.S. hopes Japan’s removal of age restrictions will result in the same action from other countries.
“This is great news for American cattle producers, and Secretary Sonny Perdue and the Trump Administration deserve a lot of credit for helping knock down this non-tariff trade barrier in Japan,” says Jennifer Houston, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) president. “This underscores the safety of the U.S. beef herd, and it will hopefully send a signal to other Asian nations that non-science-based trade barriers like this one should be eliminated in their countries, as well.”
The agreement with Japan is a major step toward putting BSE on the back burner when it comes to global beef trade. Agriculturalists look forward with hope that trade markets will continue to expand with other nations.
In a related article titled, “Is More Trade Aid For Farmers in the Works?“, Ag Nook explores the possibility that continued trade standoff with China will result in direct payments to farmers in 2019.