What's the Background?
Japan has a population of nearly 127 million people and is the third largest economy in the world. In 2017, U.S. food and agricultural exports to Japan totaled $13.6 billion. The U.S. pork industry, which has been the world’s largest exporter of pork over the last 11 years, depends on exports for growth. U.S. pork exports added $53 – representing 35.5 percent of the $149 average value of a hog – to every U.S. hog marketed in 2017. Even with current trade restrictions, the United States exported $1.6 billion of pork, or nearly 394,000 metric tons, to Japan, making it the second largest volume market and the largest value market. Pork exports to Japan support 13,100 U.S. jobs. The United States can significantly expand its market share in Japan through a free trade agreement.
Why Does it Matter to our Producers?
Japan is currently the number one FTA priority for pork producers. Unfettered market access to Japan would exponentially expand U.S. pork exports and create American jobs. Without a bilateral agreement, U.S. exports will be at a serious competitive disadvantage. The U.S. pork industry’s biggest competitor, the European Union, recently concluded negotiations on an FTA with Japan. In addition, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP minus the U.S.) will be signed in early 2018. Inevitably, the United States will lose pork market share in Japan if it fails to negotiate a bilateral FTA with Japan.
What's NPPC's Position?
NPPC urges the United States to expeditiously initiate bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Japan. U.S. pork exports to Japan would be significantly higher in the absence of its complex system of pork import protections commonly referred to as the “gate price system.”