Despite the challenges of higher tariffs against U.S. beef compared to major competitors, sales to Japan have shown some strength. Japan is part of the trade deal formerly known as TPP; that agreement lowered tariffs on beef exports for U.S. competitors. Despite that challenge, Dan Halstrom, president and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, says the industry has managed to continue to perform exceptionally well.
“We’re flat in Japan. $2.1 billion in sales and that’s in the face of some very stiff headwinds with the differential duties of 12%-13% difference versus Australia. The problem is that number only gets bigger over time. So, that’s the bad news. The good news, is the [Trump] Administration is getting some momentum on a U.S./Japan Ag fast-track deal. So, we’re enthusiastic, about the possibilities there, of doing something sooner rather than later.”
Halstrom added the quality of U.S. beef is key in supporting exports to Japan.
“The advantage we have going in is, we have some of the best quality product in the world. High quality, grain-fed, rich tasting product that for the most part is different than our competitors, including Australia. You know, everything in the end comes down to economic, and my argument would be if we didn’t have this duty disadvantage, if we were on par, imagine how good the numbers could be.”
In anticipation that a deal will soon be struck between the U.S. and Japan, Halstrom says USMEF is working diligently to protect its market share from competitors.
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