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U.S. farmers seek to negotiate for lower Japanese tariffs

Washington, April 22 (Jiji Press) — A total of 88 U.S. agriculture-related groups and companies on Monday sought Washington’s efforts to negotiate for swift cuts in Japanese tariffs on U.S. products.

They wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer asking him to get moving on an envisaged trade agreement with Japan to address their concern that the U.S. food and agriculture industry is “increasingly disadvantaged” by competing regional and bilateral agreements with the world’s third-largest economy, according to a U.S. trade paper.

Such agreements include the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact and the Japan-European Union economic partnership agreement.

In the letter, beef, pork, wheat, dairy, wine, crop, vegetable and other agriculture-related groups and companies said the Japan-U.S. pact “must include market access provisions that at least equal the terms” of the TPP and the Japan-EU EPA in the first stage of implementation.

They also claimed that the agreement must include an accelerated phase-in of tariff cuts to ensure the United States is not facing a disadvantage compared to other countries.

Under the TPP and the Japan-EU EPA, which both took effect during fiscal 2018, tariff levels are to be changed in stages.

For example, initial-year-level tariffs were applied to beef and pork imported to Japan from partner countries through the end of March this year and the levels were lowered when the second year of the pacts’ effectuation started on April 1.

U.S. exporters “are facing collapse of their Japanese market share,” the groups and companies said in the letter.

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