Today, the National Potato Council (NPC) cheered the passage of the US-Japan Agreement on Agricultural Trade by Japan’s Upper House. Pending official announcements by both countries’ trade ministries, the pact will be enacted on Jan. 1.
“As the largest export market for US potatoes, Japan is vital for the continued health and prosperity of America’s potato growers and industry partners,” says Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council. “Today’s action will restore tariff reductions and place the US potato industry on a level playing field with our foreign competitors. Looking forward, the NPC and our domestic partners will continue to work to expand access to the vital Japanese market for high-quality US potato exports.”
“Today’s action solidifies the trade benefits previously negotiated under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and the US potato industry appreciates the work of Ambassador Lighthizer, Secretary Perdue, and the teams at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service for getting this pact over the finish line,” says Jared Balcom, chairman of NPC’s Trade Affairs Committee and a potato grower from Pasco, Wash.
Once fully implemented, the agreement will reduce and eventually remove tariffs on US frozen and flaked potatoes. Japan is the US potato industry’s largest export market with exports totaling over $350 million in the past year. Given a competitive tariff regime and reasonable market access agreements, it is believed that this market can grow by another $150 million annually (42 percent) in the very near future.
Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif issued the following statement:
“With Japan’s parliamentary approval of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, the final hurdle for the deal to take effect on January 1st of 2020 has been cleared. Western Growers appreciates the prompt action by the Japanese Diet, which will eliminate tariffs on a number of American fruit, vegetable and tree nut products and pave the way for significant export opportunities for our members."
“Western Growers extends its continued support to President Trump for his leadership in pursuing fairer deals for American farmers in Japan and other countries around the world."
“We urge President Trump to follow through on his pledge to engage Prime Minister Abe in further trade talks to address additional barriers to trade. Chief among our remaining concerns are the non-scientific sanitary and phytosanitary measures that will continue to prohibit many American fresh produce items from entering Japan. No trade deal will be complete without these reforms to the Japanese importation system.”