As Nebraska works to strengthen its economic ties with Japan, state officials carefully watch negotiations which could further open a promising Asian market for Nebraska agricultural goods.
State Agriculture Director Greg Ibach says Asia already is a great market for Nebraska farm products, but if the Trans-Pacific Partnership wins approval, it would become even greater.
“We’re hoping to bring those tariffs that have been brought down in other trade agreements previously from high levels to moderate levels; we’re hoping now to see those drop to zero over time,” Ibach says.
According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an ambitious, 21st century trade agreement that the United States is negotiating with 11 other countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam).
The office says completion of the partnership could increase access to some of the fastest growing markets in the world.
Japan already ranks as the second largest market for Nebraska agricultural products. Nebraska exported more than $454 million in farm goods to Japan last year, according to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development; $411 million in beef and pork exports.
Agricultural goods aren’t the only exports to Japan. Overall, Nebraska exported $566 million in goods to Japan last year, representing nearly eight percent of the total state merchandise exports.
Other Asian countries hold promising opportunity as well.
Ibach says all Nebraska farmers need are open markets.
“Being able to open those markets, to have our farmers and ranchers be able to compete worldwide at a fair level playing field. We feel like we will be able to be competitive on a price basis if we aren’t subject to tariff limitations.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1 min.]