Japan’s prime minister says he’s open to creating a trade agreement with the United States.
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president Craig Uden, who ranches near Elwood, Nebraska, says it’s encouraging news, especially in light of the Trump administration abandoning the Trans Pacific Partnership.
“When they walked away from the TPP with nothing in place, we started wondering and asking where we’re going to go,” Uden says. “We’re real happy we’re seeing work on a bilateral agreement with Japan because Japan’s extremely important for our trade.”
The fourth generation cattleman says it’s important to have a free trade agreement with Japan, in order to bring tariffs down that have been hurting the U.S. cattle industry.
“We pay a 38 1/2% tariff and actually today Australia is the benefitter,” he says. “They have a bilateral agreement and they’re only paying 27 1/2% so, they still want our product but it does put us at an 11% disadvantage and that’s actually going to grow in April and they’re going to have a lower tariff. They’re in their 3rd year of tariff reduction so that even puts them at a greater advantage.”
Uden says the costs of not having an free trade agreement with Japan is astronomical.
“Every day we don’t have a similar agreement with Japan, it’s costing U.S. producers about $400,000 a day, which is pretty significant, just in Japan alone,” Uden says. “We really need to work on this bilateral trade agreement with Japan.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made his trade comments after visiting the U.S. and meeting with President Donald Trump. The two leaders agreed to launch high level economic talks including discussing a bilateral trade framework.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton