Ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo's (surname first) visit to Washington, the U.S. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) asked US. President Trump to start negotiating a free trade agreement with Japan.
Trump and Free Trade? Uh-oh.
In a letter sent on February 7, 2017 to the White House, the NCBA and NPPC asked Trump “to initiate free trade agreement negotiations with nations in the Asia-Pacific region beginning with Japan. … As you continue to lead America forward, we want to be a resource for your administration for possible strategies in improving existing and future trade agreements for the benefit of our producers.”
Of course, Abe and Trump already met this past Friday, with the biggest news being that Trump has told Abe that the U.S. will look after its little buddy Japan in protecting its borders from enemies.
No details were released about when America would begin building that wall around Japan, or how much it would cost Japan... or even if Trump had his fingers crossed...
Anyhow... with regards to meat, both the NCBA and NPPC believe that having an American agreement in place with Japan re: trade would be very beneficial for the US pork and beef industries.. because then with Japan buying its meat... well... maybe that's why the Donald agreed to help out Japan with its defence.
I'm just blowing smoke here... Trump had said in the past that he wanted Japan to either look after itself or to pay more to have the U.S. help it... it's why I am suggesting that a free trade deal involving beef and pork may be in the works.
Japan is already the biggest exporter of U.S. beef and pork exports, purchasing US$1.4-billion in U.S, beef in 2016 alone... and US$1.5-billion in yankee pork.
So why have an agreement in place? To ensure that Japan continues to buy American... even though Japan has high tariffs and strict import measure in place limiting how much American beef and pork can come in.
That tariff stands at 38.5 percent on fresh and frozen beef. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that Trump immediately pulled the US from upon taking office would have reduced that tariff to 9 percent.
So... killing the TPP for the US hurt the US beef industry. Moo-ha-ha.
That expected 9 percent tariff would have brought American beef tariffs in line with what Australia currently faces... meaning the US beef could have been on par with Australia as far as paying to have its goods sold in Japan.
Now... I can see why President Trump didn't care about this... because the Japanese are already purchasing a lot of US beef, regardless of the higher tariff... but the NCBA and NPPC believe that had lower tariffs been invoked via the TPP, even more Japanese would be buying American.
Now... IF the TPP and its reduced tariff on American beef (and pork) had been introduced, the U.S. International Trade Commission say that beef exports to TPP countries, which included the US, Japan and 10 other Asia-Pacific nations, would grow by US$876 million a year by the end of the phase-in period and that most of the growth would be in trade to Japan.
For pork, the same analysis by the Commission said it would have grown by US$387 million, again with most of the exports going to Japan.
Nearly 9,000 American jobs would be generated by increased exports of livestock products, according to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)’s export multiplier.
For fun, you might want to read about an article I wrote about Donald Trump and Japan back in March of 2016: HERE