Vetter says Japan trade deal is a good start, but more is needed

The former Chief Ag Negotiator for the US Trade Representative says the US-Japan trade agreement could set a bad precedent for trade negotiations moving forward.  During her testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee, Darci Vetter said key components of the US ag sector – like rice, butter, milk powder, and fresh poultry, aren’t covered under this agreement.  “Given the depth and breadth of US ag export interests, these exclusions are important,” she says.  “Not only because those products won’t gain new access to Japan, but also because these exclusions may be seen as a signal that the US is willing to exclude products in future deals.”

Russell Boening, president of the Texas Farm Bureau says a more comprehensive trade agreement with Japan is needed to cover all of agriculture. But this agreement is a win.  “I’m proud that this agreement with help Texas and US beef producers,” he says.  “Implementation will allow our country to gain market access equal to the CP-TPP countries.  Tariffs for fresh, chilled, and frozen beef will be reduced from 38 percent to 9 percent.”

Vetter says this agreement doesn’t adequately address Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and non-tariff barriers to ag trade and says any additional agreement with Japan should include those provisions.

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