Jesse Austin, U.S. Meat Federation (USMEF) vice president of marketing, recently returned from meetings in Japan with importers, distributors and other customers of U.S. pork and beef, which he discusses in this audio clip.
While this was Austin's first international market visit since joining USMEF in October, he has previous experience in Japan from his time as general manager of Smithfield Foods' Tokyo office. He says the outlook in Japan is very optimistic now that the new U.S.-Japan trade agreement is in effect, bringing import tariff rates for U.S. pork and beef in line with those imposed on major competitors. Austin notes that closing the tariff gap allows discussions with existing and prospective customers to focus on the quality and consistency of U.S. red meat products.
The U.S.-Japan trade agreement entered into force on Jan. 1, and a second round of tariff rate reductions will take place April 1 when the new Japanese fiscal year begins. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) provides specific details on the agreement's red meat trade provisions in these fact sheets: