USMEF Photo--
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue serves American-style barbecue to Japanese consumers during a US Meat Export Federation Urban Barbecue event in Tokyo. Japan just agreed to begin allowing U.S. products from all cattle, regardless of age, to enter Japan for the first time since 2003.
USMEF Photo-- U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue serves American-style barbecue to Japanese consumers during a US Meat Export Federation Urban Barbecue event in Tokyo. Japan just agreed to begin allowing U.S. products from all cattle, regardless of age, to enter Japan for the first time since 2003.


From CBW News Desk


Two different outcomes involving U.S. trade with foreign countries transpired late last week that favored the U.S. beef industry. 

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the United States and Japan have agreed on new terms and conditions that eliminate Japan’s longstanding restrictions on U.S. beef exports, paving the way for expanded sales to the United States’ top global beef market. On the margins of the G-20 Agriculture Ministerial Meeting in Niigata, Japan, Secretary Perdue met with Japanese government officials and affirmed the importance of science-based trade rules. The new terms, which take effect immediately, allow U.S. products from all cattle, regardless of age, to enter Japan for the first time since 2003. 

“This is great news for American ranchers and exporters who now have full access to the Japanese market for their high-quality, safe, wholesome, and delicious U.S. beef,” Secretary Perdue said. “We are hopeful that Japan’s decision will help lead other markets around the world toward science-based policies.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that this expanded access could increase U.S. beef and beef product exports to Japan by up to $200 million annually. The agreement is also an important step in normalizing trade with Japan, as Japan further aligns its import requirements with international standards for bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association responded to the announcement by saying, “This is great news for American cattle producers, and Secretary Sonny Perdue and the Trump Administration deserve a lot of credit for helping knock down this non-tariff trade barrier in Japan. This underscores the safety of the U.S. beef herd, and it will hopefully send a signal to other Asian nations that non-science-based trade barriers like this one should be eliminated in their countries, as well.

“Tariff rates grab all the headlines, but non-tariff barriers are often just as important, if not more so, when it comes to determining market access. Hopefully this will help spotlight this important point and lead to more trade victories in the near future.”


U.S. lifts rariffs on Canada, Mexico

The United States has reached a deal with Canada and Mexico to lift steel and aluminum tariffs, a step toward congressional approval of the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement.

U.S. officials agreed to lift the tariffs in 48 hours in exchange for new measures that would prevent Chinese steel to enter the U.S. by way of Canada and Mexico. 

The metals tariffs were a major irritant for Canada and Mexico and had caused them to halt progress toward ratification of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the trilateral trade deal signed last year which will replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 

Canada will move quickly to ratify the new North American trade pact, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Saturday, a day after the United States agreed to lift tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

In response to the U.S. tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel (25 percent) and aluminum (10 percent), Canada had applied a 10 percent duty on U.S. cooked/prepared beef products. And Mexico ultimately raised its duty rate on pork muscle cuts to 20 percent, while also taxing sausages at 15 percent and some prepared hams at 20 percent.

According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), U.S. beef exports to Canada were down 14 percent in both volume (23,199 metric tons) and value ($143.8 million) in the first quarter of 2019. First quarter U.S. pork exports to Mexico were down 13 percent year-over-year in volume (177,420 mt) and sank 29 percent in value ($261.9 million). 

U.S. tariffs on Chinese aluminum and steel also have impacted U.S. pork and beef. In retaliation, China ultimately upped duties on frozen pork muscle cuts and variety meats to 62 percent, from 12 percent.  

Through March, U.S. pork exports to the China/Hong Kong region were 20 percent below last year’s pace in volume (89,689 mt) and down 34 percent in value ($172.1 million), USMEF said.

Beijing also raised its rate on U.S. beef muscle cuts and variety meats to 37 percent, from 12 percent. 

U.S. exports to China were up 4 percent from a year ago to 1,723 mt, but at lower prices as export value fell 17 percent to $13.2 million. 

Most beef suppliers to China are subject to a 12 percent duty, but New Zealand is duty-free and Australia only pays a 6 percent rate. Australia’s grain-fed beef exports to China in the first quarter totaled 14,347 mt, up 77 percent year-over-year, according to USMEF.