U.S. and Japanese officials signed a bilateral agreement yesterday that will make U.S. beef more competitive with beef going into Japan from Australia, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand. Set to go into effect January 1, 2020, the trade deal will reduce tariffs on fresh, chilled and frozen U.S. beef from the current 38.5% to 9% over 15 years. Additionally, Japan will eliminate tariffs on processed beef products, including beef jerky and meat extracts, which currently are as high as 50%, in five to 15 years.
NCBA President Jennifer Houston was on hand for the White House ceremony where the agreement was signed. She said this is an important step forward, considering Japan accounts for about one-quarter of total U.S. beef exports and roughly $2 billion in annual sales.
“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,” said Houston.
She said Japanese consumers enjoy high-quality U.S. beef, but unfortunately pay a higher price for it compared to beef from competitors in Australia, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand, which currently are only subject to a 26.6% tariff.