July 10, 2017


US pork producers urge Trump to ink trade deal with Japan just like EU



US pork producers have renewed their call on the Trump administration to begin negotiations on a free trade agreement with Japan.


Their latest clamor came on the heels of the announcement on Thursday, July 6, that the European Union and Japan have reached agreement in principle on a trade pact.


"The United States must quickly finalise a trade deal with Japan if it wants to maintain that important market," said Ken Maschhoff, president of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).


"We can't stand by while countries around the world negotiate agreements that give them a competitive advantage over American products", he added.


A pork producer from Carlyle, Illinois, Maschhoff urged Trump to "make America great again by expanding our market access to Japan-an economically and strategically important ally-through an FTA".


NPPC wants a Trans-Pacific Partnership-type deal with Japan. Under that trade agreement, which the pork organisation strongly supported, Japan's tariffs on pork, which are determined through a so-called gate price system, would have been nearly eliminated.


Economist Dermot Hayes of Iowa State University estimated that US pork exports to Japan would have increased exponentially under TPP, creating more than 5,000 new US jobs.


"Producers are very dependent on exports," Maschhoff said. "Last year, were exported 26 percent of our total production, and those exports added more than $50-representing 36 percent of the $140 average value of a hog in 2016-to the price we received for each animal marketed. We can't afford to lose exports in our No. 1 market".


Japan is the highest value market for US pork exports. Last year, Japanese consumers purchased almost $1.6 billion worth of US pork products, which are in demand in Japan despite tariffs and other import measures that limit market access for it.