Hoosier Farmers Celebrate U.S. Trade Agreement with Japan

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(photo courtesy of Pixabay/Franke Fiend) (photo courtesy of Pixabay/Franke Fiend)

Two Indiana farm associations are welcoming the trade agreement announced this week between the U.S. and Japan. The agreement will gradually reduce tariffs Japan assesses on U.S. corn, beef, pork and other commodities.

While at the United Nations, President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the deal. 

The Indiana Soybean Alliance and the Indiana Corn Growers Association say the agreement between the two trading partners bodes well for Hoosier farmers.

“For Indiana farmers to remain sustainable and competitive, we need to maintain foreign markets for our crops,” said Indiana Corn Grower Association President Sarah Delbecq, who farms near Auburn. “This deal with Japan continues and strengthens the relationship between Hoosier corn farmers and an important trading partner.”

According to the ISA, Japan will cut tariffs on U.S. agricultural products, including beef, to levels granted to the eleven nations which signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. In 2017, President Trump walked away from negotiations of a previous version of that trade pact, known as TPP.

“I’m pleased to hear that this deal with Japan is beneficial to livestock producers,” said Shelbyville farmer Phil Ramsey, who also serves as chair of the ISA’s Membership and Policy Committee. “Livestock is the No. 1 customer of Indiana soybeans, and we’re excited to see new markets open up for these products.”

The agreement does not require congressional approval, but it must be ratified by Japan’s legislature.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture,  Japan imported $14 billion in U.S. food and agricultural products in 2018. Of that, $5.2 billion worth of goods were already duty free. Under this new agreement, Japan will eliminate or reduce tariffs on an additional $7.2 billion of U.S. food and agricultural products. Click here to read the list of farm products impacted by the agreement.

This is the second piece of positive trade news for Indiana farmers this week. On Monday, leaders from the ISA and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council signed two Letters of Intent with a delegation from Taiwan. The agreements call for the purchase of $2 billion dollars of Indiana corn and soybeans over the next two years.

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