Canadian growers should be aware of the more favourable circumstances for some American horticultural products going to Japan. The competitive landscape changed with the recent signing of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement on the sidelines of UN meetings.
Japan has committed to eliminating tariffs, enacting tariff reductions, or allowing a specific quantity of imports at a low duty (generally zero). Importantly, the tariff treatment will match the tariffs that Japan provides preferentially to countries such as Canada in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CP-TPP). The deal also underlines the American preference for bilateral trade deals.
Out of the $14.1 billion in U.S. food and agricultural products imported by Japan in 2018, $5.2 billion were already duty free. Under this first-stage initial tariff agreement, Japan will eliminate or reduce tariffs on an additional $7.2 billion of U.S. food and agricultural products.
Tariffs will be eliminated immediately on more than $1.3 billion of U.S. farm products including, for example:
• sweet corn
• grain sorghum
• food supplements
Other products valued at $3 billion will benefit from staged tariff elimination. This group of products includes, for example:
• cheese and whey
• frozen poultry
• processed pork
• fresh cherries
• beef offal
• frozen potatoes
• egg products
• tomato paste
The agreement goes into effect in January 2020.
Source: USDA September 26, 2019 news release