While trade talks between the U.S. and China have been getting all the attention, two top U.S. agriculture experts say the next focus is expected to be Japan.
The U.S. Trade Representatives office Ag Negotiator Greg Doud and Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney spoke about it during February's Agricultural Outlook Forum.
They say the urgency to reach a bilateral deal with Japan stems from similar agreements made by Japan in recent months with competitor countries. Those deals could impact Japanese-bound U.S. ag exports, especially U.S. beef.
Dan Halstrom is the President and CEO of USMEF. He told us, "We still have a 38.5% duty on U.S. beef going into Japan, while our major competitors through CPTPP or TPP, without the U.S., are now benefiting from reduced tariffs".
Under Secretary McKinney says U.S.-Japanese relations remain strong. He acknowledges that after a while price can wear away. That's why he says there is also an urgency to get to Japan, so the U.S. can maintain a market presence.