Can Japan Create a Trade Agreement With the U.S.?

6/19/18 USDA Seeks to Grow Trade Relations with Japan

The U.S. is continuing to build a closer relationship with Japan as the relations with China are turning turbulent.

Ted McKinney, the USDA’s undersecretary of agriculture for trade and foreign agricultural affairs, is headed overseas to the island nation as part of a growing the relationship.

“Japan is already a top market for U.S. farm and food products, but there are many new opportunities still waiting to be tapped there,” said McKinney in a release from the USDA.

According to McKinney, Japan’s 130 million consumers “have a real affinity for U.S. food products because of their quality, affordability and safety.”

“[Japan has said they] are reluctant to do a bilateral deal with the United States,” said Gregg Doud, chief agricultural negotiator with the U.S. Trade Representative. “We’re going to continue to press Japan on this. Next year, Japan has a deal with Europe, Canada, Australia. Those tariffs will begin to tilt against us.”

If bilateral trade agreements can be reached with Japan and Vietnam, Doud believes this could be the U.S.’s Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Japan is the fourth-largest agricultural export market in the U.S. and is the top import market for beef and pork.