US Beef Exports to Japan

Japan's Diet Approves US Beef Tariff Safeguard

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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A Japanese shopper examines a package of U.S. beef. Japan's national legislature has approved a new tariff safeguard agreement that will allow U.S. beef exporters to ship more products to the country before higher tariff levels kick in. (DTN file photo)

OMAHA (DTN) -- The Upper House of Japan's Diet, the country's national legislature, has approved a new beef tariff agreement with the U.S. that is expected to boost U.S. beef exports to the country.

The U.S. Trade Representative's Office announced the Diet's approval, called a "beef safeguard mechanism," under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement.

Once in effect, the new agreement will provide three guidelines, or a "three-trigger safeguard" that will allow U.S. beef exporters to meet Japan's growing demand for beef, the USTR stated, and will reduce the likelihood of Japan imposing higher tariffs on U.S. beef in the future. The agreement was originally negotiated last June. USTR stated the two countries are working to finalize procedures for the agreement to enter into force.

Japan imported $2.38 billion in U.S. beef and beef variety meats in 2021. Through September, Japan has imported $1.85 billion in U.S. beef and beef variety meats, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Beef and beef variety meat exports to Japan in 2021 came in at 320,737 metric tons. Through September, the U.S. had exported 236,718 metric tons to Japan.

While South Korea has now become a top export market for U.S. beef, Japan remains the top market for volumes and dollar amount when beef and beef variety meat products are totaled.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association thanked the U.S. Trade Representative's Office for working with the Japanese government on the tariff safeguard. "This approval will ensure greater certainty for our supply chain while also allowing American producers to continue exporting high-quality beef to meet Japanese consumer demand," NCBA's Hunter Ihrman, director of policy communications, stated in an email Wednesday.

Under the deal, the U.S. will be allowed to export higher volumes of beef each year -- 4,840 metric tons per year for most of the agreement -- without Japan imposing higher tariffs on the increased volumes of beef.

"The protocol will ensure our farmers and ranchers continue to have access to one of the world's most dynamic markets," said Ambassador Katherine Tai. "We are excited that Japan's consumers can enjoy high-quality U.S. beef that is a staple of our agricultural industry. The protocol represents a foundational pillar of our bilateral trade relationship -- and I am grateful to our producers and stakeholders who helped make it possible."

More details can be found at the USTR website:….

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Chris Clayton