News & Resources

Interim Trade Deal with Japan Holds Promise; NMPF Working to Maximize Benefits

October 2, 2019

The United States and Japan reached an interim trade agreement at the end of September that will deliver welcome improvements in market access for the U.S. dairy industry. Still, further work remains to secure a sufficiently competitive landscape in Japan for dairy.

“This interim trade agreement with Japan is welcome news for farmers across the U.S. who have seen their incomes damaged by trade disputes,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We thank America’s trade negotiators for their pursuit of a deal aimed at benefiting our dairy farmers and expanding international markets for their high-quality milk. To reap those full rewards and ensure the U.S. is best able compete in the Japanese market, the subsequent stage of negotiations must secure further inroads into Japan, building upon what our key competitors – the European Union and New Zealand – have secured there.”

This trade development followed a NMPF and USDEC-led letter to the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in August that encouraged the U.S. government to negotiate a trade deal with that builds upon the best market access components of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and Japan-EU agreements and includes safeguards for common cheese names. This letter was signed by 70 dairy companies, farmer-owned cooperatives, and associations.

NMPF staff have been closely engaged with U.S. negotiators throughout these latest trade discussions, advising the USTR and communicating with Congress regarding the expected outcomes for dairy, conveying the dairy industry’s priorities.

One of the chief goals of the industry remains that an agreement will address the inequalities in market access in Japan granted to U.S. competitors by the CPTPP and Japan-EU agreements and push for ways to build upon what Japan agreed to in those earlier agreements. Japan represents a rapidly growing market, and without a strong trade deal, U.S. competitors in Australia, New Zealand and Europe will continue to receive an advantage over American dairy products.

This trade agreement represents the first stage of trade talks, as the White House has announced that they plan to pursue further trade negotiations to “achieve a comprehensive trade agreement that results in more fair and reciprocal trade between the United States and Japan.”

NMPF will continue to work with U.S. officials to achieve our stated goals and ensure that the U.S. dairy industry continues to command a growing share of Japan’s market.