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Food Groups Urge U.S.-Japan Trade Deal Congressional Support
USAgNet - 11/21/2019

The Corn Refiners Association joined a host of organizations representing the U.S. food and agriculture industry in submitting a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. The letter, signed by more than 30 groups, urges support for the swift implementation of a Phase 1 U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement negotiated earlier this year.

As the third-largest economy in the world, and the United States' fourth?largest agricultural export market, Japan represents a key trading partner for the U.S. food and agriculture industry. The letter emphasizes that implementation of the Phase 1 U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement stands to greatly benefit farmers, ranchers, and workers in the food and agriculture community.

Critically, this agreement, once implemented, will allow U.S. exporters to maintain competitiveness as others reap the benefits of tariff reductions under the Comprehensive and Progressive for Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CP-TPP). Under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, over 90 percent of U.S. food and agricultural imports into Japan will either be duty free or receive preferential tariff access once the Agreement is implemented, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

"The progress that has been made thus far to solidify the Japanese market for agricultural exports is highly encouraging for U.S. farmers, ranchers, and agri-businesses," said John Bode, CRA president and CEO. "As this administration continues to seek out strong and fair trade deals across the globe, it is critical that we maintain competitiveness in key markets such as Japan. We look forward to negotiations on a Phase 2 agreement."

The industry comments cited the economic benefits of this agreement, noting that:

"Of critical importance is the expected implementation in January 2020, providing the Agreement's parity treatment with CP-TPP imports. Upon implementation, U.S. exporters will reestablish their footing with CP-TPP competitors in most tariff reductions and establish deeper and new trade relationships in the Japanese marketplace. Further, U.S. beef, pork, poultry, dairy, fruit and vegetable, grains, and other food and agriculture exporters and processors are eager for the commencement of second-phase negotiations to build on the market access gains achieved in the phase-one deal, as well as begin discussions on non-tariff barriers to secure a comprehensive trade pact for consideration by Congress.."

The U.S. food and agricultural industry is a major contributor to the U.S. economy, supporting more than 22 million jobs including more manufacturing jobs than any other U.S. manufacturing sector. Agriculture related activity accounts for 20 percent of the U.S. economy.

The letter's signatories include: Agriculture Transportation Coalition, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Fruit and Vegetable Processors and Growers Coalition, American Soybean Association, Coalition of New England Companies for Trade, Corn Refiners Association, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, Farmers for Free Trade, Global Cold Chain Alliance, International Dairy Foods Association, National Association of Egg Farmers, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Grain and Feed Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Oilseed Processors Association, National Potato Council, National Sorghum Producers, National Sunflower Association, North American Export Grain Association, North American Meat Institute, Northwest Horticultural Council, Pacific Coast Council of Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders, Pacific NW Asia Shippers Association, Sweetener Users Association, Texas Farm Bureau, United Fresh Produce Association, U.S. Apple Association, U.S. Dairy Export Council, U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade Asia-Pacific Working Group, USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council.

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