August 19, 2019

U.S. Companies Push For Trade Deal With Japan

 |  By: Mike Opperman

The U.S. dairy industry needs exports, and Japan is a key trading partner. To help officials understand the need for a strong trade agreement with Japan, 70 dairy companies, farmer-owned cooperatives, and associations today sent a letter to the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture asking the U.S. government to capitalize on the conclusion of Japan’s national elections and quickly finalize a strong trade deal with Japan in order to secure critical market access. The effort was coordinated by the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

“Given that Japan is an established market with a growing demand for dairy products, the successful negotiation of a robust trade agreement with Japan will bring a much-needed boost to the economic health of the U.S. dairy industry and set our industry up on a path to compete effectively there moving forward. Securing robust dairy export opportunities into this overseas market will be critical to restoring confidence for our dairy farmers and processors across the country,” the organizations wrote in the letter.

Japan had been a strong trading partner in the past, and opportunities exist to expand market access. However, the Japan-EU agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans- Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) have allowed the European Union, New Zealand and Australia to seize sales from the U.S. dairy industry. 

Dairy companies including Darigold, Leprino Foods, Glanbia Nutritionals and others count Japan as a significant customer for cheese, lactose, whey, mozzarella and other products. A trade agreement with Japan is needed to keep and grow these and future market access opportunities. 

The U.S. exported $270 million in dairy products to Japan in 2018 with room for further growth. However, without a strong U.S.-Japan trade agreement, half of U.S. dairy sales to Japan will be wrested by competitors, mounting to a toll of $5.4 billion in lost export sales when Japan’s deals with the EU and CPTPP are fully phased in.

For a copy of the letter, click here