US – Japan sign agreement to revise the Beef Safeguard Mechanism

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WASHINGTON, USA – Ambassador Katherine Tai, on Thursday signed a new agreement with Japan’s Ambassador to the United States Koji Tomita to revise the beef safeguard mechanism under the US-Japan Trade Agreement (USJTA). This updated agreement will amend the beef safeguard trigger level under the USJTA with a new, three-trigger safeguard mechanism.

The amendment will allow US beef exporters to more reliably meet Japan’s growing demand for high-quality beef, providing more predictability and reducing the probability that safeguard duties would be imposed on US beef, as occurred in early 2021.

“This agreement ensures that American farmers and ranchers can continue to meet Japan’s growing demand for high-quality US beef while increasing market opportunities in a vital market,” said ambassador Katherine Tai. “I want to thank secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack and ambassador Rahm Emanuel for helping to get this agreement done. Together, the United States and Japan are demonstrating our commitment to working together on shared priorities to achieve concrete, economically meaningful results for our people.”

“This agreement demonstrates how strong allies can work together to benefit each other – and it’s another example of how the Biden-Harris administration is strengthening trade ties and creating new and better markets for our agricultural producers and exporters,” said secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack. “Japan is already the United States’ second-largest beef export market, and thanks to the work of ambassador Tai and ambassador Emanuel our producers and exporters have greater opportunities and greater certainty that their products will not be subject to higher tariffs.”

“This deal is a win for America’s farmers and ranchers, and for Japan’s consumers,” said ambassador Rahm Emanuel. “It allows us to build our share of a beef export market that was worth $2.4 billion in 2021, and since this agreement was announced, we’ve seen Japanese buyers boost their purchases of high-quality American beef by 30 percent over last year.”

The agreement includes a new three-trigger mechanism whereby three criteria must be met in order for Japan to implement the safeguard and impose a temporary, higher tariff on US beef.

The three criteria are:

  1. Imports from the United States must exceed the original beef safeguard trigger level under the US-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; and,
  3. Imports from the United States must exceed the total amount of beef imports from the United States during the previous year. This third trigger will be in effect until 2027.

Following signature, both countries will follow their respective domestic procedures in order for the updated agreement to enter into force.

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 US beef to Japan totaled almost $2.4 billion in 2021, with Japan representing the United States’ second-largest beef export market.

The agreement can be viewed here.

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