TOKYO — Negotiators are hurrying to finalize this month a new trade deal between U.S. president Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, an official with the Japanese Cabinet Secretariat told the Capital Press.
However, "the date when the deal will come into effect has not been decided," said the official, who asked not to be identified.
As far as agricultural products are concerned in the deal, the official said concessions Japan made in previous trade agreements represented the maximum it would make for U.S. agricultural, fisheries and forestry products.
Asked whether tariff reductions will be the same as those under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, the official only said the details will be announced once the U.S.-Japan trade negotiations are finalized.
The CPTPP is the version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that emerged after Trump pulled the U.S. out of it. The 11 nations that are signatories of the agreement include Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Australia — all of whom compete with U.S. farmers to do business with Japan. Those nations that are a part of CPTPP will see Japanese tariffs gradually reduced.
If the U.S. doesn't reach a final agreement with Japan, tariffs on U.S. farm products and crops will remain high.
Any trade pact must be approved by the Japanese parliament, the official said. Congress must also approve any new agreement with Japan.
"Once the agreement is signed, we will submit it to the Japanese Diet (parliament) and ask for approval," the official said.
The stakes are high for U.S. agriculture.
U.S. farmers exported nearly $13 billion in agricultural products to Japan in 2018, according to USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. In 2018, U.S. exports to Japan included $2.8 billion in corn, $2.1 billion in beef, $1.6 billion in pork, $927 million in soybeans and $717 million in wheat.