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Posted on Nov 20, 2019 in Featured, News Releases

Boening testifies before U.S. House subcommittee on trade with Japan

Boening testifies before U.S. House subcommittee on trade with Japan

Texas farmers and ranchers need a strong trade agreement with Japan to help grow demand and provide much-needed market certainty, Texas Farm Bureau President (TFB) Russell Boening told a U.S. House subcommittee today.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration signed the first phase of a trade agreement with Japan. Under this agreement, Japan will eliminate or reduce tariffs on an additional $7.2 billion of U.S. food and agricultural products.

“International trade plays a critical role in the success of the U.S. economy,” Boening testified before the U.S. House Ways and Means subcommittee on trade. “Farm and ranch families see the benefits of trade daily as they work hard to plant, grow, harvest and market their products.”

U.S. farmers and ranchers export nearly $13 billion a year in agricultural products to Japan, making it the fourth-largest export destination for American farm and ranch goods.

In 2018, Texas exported more than $216 million of beef products, $35 million of grain sorghum and over $2.4 million of pork and dairy products to Japan.

Boening, who also serves as the chair of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Trade Advisory Committee, noted the bilateral agreement keeps intact the majority of the trade benefits the U.S. would have gained in Japan under the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“I am proud this agreement will help Texas and U.S. beef producers,” Boening said. “Implementation will allow our country to obtain market access equal to Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership countries.”

Tariffs for fresh, chilled and frozen beef will be reduced from 38.5 percent to 9 percent in 15 years. Japan will also eliminate tariffs on processed beef products.

Japan is also the United States’ largest export market for pork and the country’s fifth-largest export market for dairy products.

Under this agreement, Japan’s 40-percent cheese tariffs will be eliminated in 15 years.

Tariffs will also be immediately eliminated on over $1.3 billion of U.S. farm products, including almonds, blueberries, cranberries, sweet corn, grain sorghum and more. For other products—like wine, ethanol, frozen poultry, processed pork and more—valued at $3 billion, tariffs will be eliminated over several years.

“It is obvious the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement is a win,” Boening said. “However, the U.S. must pursue the next phase of negotiations with Japan. Not all agricultural products, such as rice and some dairy products, were included in this agreement. We must work toward additional market access. Sanitary, phytosanitary and biotechnology issues should also be addressed.”

Boening also stressed the need for Congress to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

“This robust trade agreement would tremendously benefit U.S. farmers, ranchers, businesses and many other sectors contributing to our economy,” he said. “I encourage Congressional leaders to take action.”