In a joint letter sent to the White House in Washington, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) have urged the divisive leader to start talks with Japan.
Both bodies want comprehensive free trade agreements (FTA) with Asia-Pacific nations, and Japan is first on the list.
“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,” the NPPC and the NCBA said in the letter.
Prime minister Abe will be in Washington on Friday 10 February to meet with President Trump and discuss shared matters, including trade.
“A successful, comprehensive agreement with Japan would result in one of the greatest trade agreements for the US pork and beef industries and for many other sectors,” said NCBA president Craig Uden, who has taken the position previously held by Tracey Brunner.
The call for an FTA with Japan comes after Donald Trump controversially withdrew from the ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Under this deal, Japan’s 38.5% tariff on fresh and frozen beef would have been cut to 9%. Pork tariffs would also have been substantially reduced as part of the TPP agreement.
It remains a key market for US beef and pork exports as, in 2016, Japanese consumers purchased $1.5bn of US pork and $1.4bn of US beef.
“Securing strong market access to Japan and other Asian markets is a priority for the US beef and pork industries, and we appreciate the president’s leadership and dedication to making our products the most competitive around the world,” said NPPC president John Weber.
According to exclusive data from our providers World Trade Stats, Japan is the biggest market for US pork.