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U.S. & Japan reach agreement to increase beef safeguard trigger level

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U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that the United States and Japan have reached an agreement to increase the beef safeguard trigger level under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. The new three-trigger safeguard mechanism will allow U.S. exporters to meet Japan’s growing demand for high-quality beef and reduce the probability that Japan will impose higher tariffs in the future.

“This is a win-win for American ranchers and Japanese consumers,” said U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel. “It ensures certainty for years and shows American beef can compete and win anywhere anytime.”

The agreement includes a new three-trigger mechanism whereby all three triggers must be hit in order for Japan to implement the safeguard and impose a higher tariff. The three triggers are:

  1. Imports from the United States must exceed the original beef safeguard trigger level under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement
  2. The aggregate volume of beef imports from the United States and the original signatories of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) must exceed the CPTPP beef safeguard
  3. Imports from the United States must exceed the total amount of beef imports from the United States during the previous year

“This is a positive development for America’s farmers and ranchers. It allows for greater market-based growth in U.S. beef exports to Japan and reduces the probability of higher Japanese tariffs being imposed on U.S. goods,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “America’s farmers and ranchers have beef products that can compete anywhere in the globe and this announcement will allow them to demonstrate just that.”

In 2021, the United States was the top beef exporting country in the world, with global sales of beef and beef products valued at over $10 billion. Exports of U.S. beef to Japan totaled almost $2.4 billion in 2021. 

Both governments will work to finalize the text of the agreement reflecting the new trigger levels and complete their respective domestic procedures. The United States, in consultation with Japan, will publish the final text of the agreement soon.

“While the details of the agreement in principle have not been disclosed, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is encouraged that today’s announcement means we are taking necessary steps to secure long-term solutions that enable American cattle producers to continue providing Japanese consumers with high-quality U.S. beef at competitive prices. NCBA greatly appreciates Ambassador Tai’s leadership and the hard work of negotiators who have been working on this effort for the past year,” said Kent Bacus, NCBA Senior Director of International Trade and Market Access. 

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