Japan, TPP and agriculture

On Friday of last week, the Obama Administration announced bilateral consultations with Japan about its interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have concluded and the U.S. welcomes Japan joining TPP negotiations. The TPP is an ambitious, next-generation, regional trade agreement that seeks to create a “new millennium model for trade.” As the world’s third largest economy, the addition of Japan will provide the platform for a Free Trade Area of Asia Pacific and will strengthen the U.S./Japan economic and strategic relationship.

The agreement brings Japan closer to entering talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Japan hopes to participate in as early as July. Japan needs formal approval by all 11 participating countries to take part in the talks. If Japan does join, the pact would cover an area that accounts for almost 40 percent of world economic output.

What does the TPP mean for agricultural products?

TPP is a U.S.-led free-trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region which represents a positive development to expand market access for U.S. exporters in one of the world’s largest economies. Additionally, U.S. food and agricultural exports to the Asia-Pacific region have previously reached more than $80 billion, and account for more than 70 percent of total U.S. agricultural exports to the world.

The U.S. Grains Council strongly supports the announcement of bilateral negotiations with Japan regarding the TPP. The Council has enjoyed over 50 years of cooperation and relationships working to innovate the Japanese feed, livestock and starch industries. Because of this mutual relationship and the U.S.’s commitment to be a long-term reliable supplier, Japan has been the number one customer of U.S. corn exports.

TPP will also provide opportunities for free and fair trade. And when trade works, the world wins. The TPP objective of removing tariff and non-tariff barriers will require adjustments both in the U.S. and Japanese agricultural sectors.

The Council believes that Japan is well positioned to not only remain a strong customer of the U.S. feed grains industry, but that it will have enormous opportunities to meet future Asian consumer-driven demand for high value and quality food.

When I was in Japan two years ago and three years ago, there were many discussions about TPP and how it would affect trade and agriculture. It is exciting to see this work through, as well as the 30-Month and Under Beef trade limitations changed from 20-months in February. Working relationships are so important when it comes to trade. Container Ship OOCL Seattle in Port of Tokyo
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