LINCOLN–(KFOR Sept. 25)– Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement Wednesday following news that President Trump had signed a new trade agreement with Prime Minister Shinzō Abe of Japan.
“The agreement signed today is a big win for the Beef State,” said Gov. Ricketts. “For four years now, we have been working to get a trade deal done with Japan because it is Nebraska’s largest export market for ag exports including our beef, pork, and eggs. Thank you to President Trump for the personal attention he’s paid to working with our Japanese friends to get this deal done. This agreement will help ensure that our quality ag products remain affordable to our Japanese customers for years to come.”
Gov. Ricketts recently returned from his third trade mission to Japan where he encouraged Japanese officials to work with the Trump Administration to finalize this trade agreement.
Once the agreement is implemented, Japan will reduce tariffs on products such as fresh and frozen beef and pork, reduce the mark-up on wheat and barley imported from the U.S., and eliminate tariffs for almonds, sweet corn, grain sorghum, and more.
In return, the U.S. will reduce or eliminate tariffs on many industrial goods from Japan, including certain machine tools, steam turbines, bicycles, bicycle parts, and musical instruments. The U.S. will also provide tariffs elimination or reduction on 42 tariff lines for ag imports from Japan valued $40 million in 2018.
Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson is also pleased by the signing of the new trade agreement.
“U.S. beef is king in Japan, and Nebraska exported more than $253 million of beef products in 2017 to Japan,” said Nelson. “Japan is Nebraska’s fourth largest trading partner overall with total agricultural sales at more than $552 billion in 2017, this agreement is big news for Nebraska’s economy.”
More good news for the economy emerged when Gov. Ricketts and representatives from Nebraska’s corn and soybean boards signed letters of intent Tuesday with company officials from Taiwan. The letters outline Taiwan’s agreement to purchase over $2 billion in U.S. soybeans, corn, and distillers grains.
“The United States supplies more than one-quarter of Taiwan’s major agricultural imports, and Nebraska has been a key supplier to the country for decades,” said Gov. Ricketts. “Signing these letters of intent builds on Nebraska’s existing trade relationship with Taiwan. It also positions us to grow the market for our quality agricultural products in Taiwan.”
Two letters of intent were signed. One outlines the Taiwan Feed Industry Association’s intent to purchase 197 million bushels of U.S. corn and 0.5 metric tons of U.S distillers grains with solubles in 2020 and 2021. The second letter outlines the Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers Association’s intent to purchase between 96 million bushels of U.S. soybeans over the next two years.
Signed by commodity officials and Gov. Ricketts, the letters of intent pledge the purchase of crops through negotiations between importers and private suppliers.
“The signing of these agreements with our Taiwanese partners is of critical importance,” said Gov. Ricketts. “The international marketplace is vital to growing opportunities for the quality commodities produced here in our state. We will continue to work to open up new markets for the food our farm and ranch families grow to feed the world.”
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