An announcement earlier this week that the United States and Japan have reached an agreement in principle on trade was good news to farmers and ranchers in the Pacific Northwest.

U.S. officials say the deal will be a major benefit for beef, pork, wheat, dairy products, wine, ethanol and other products.

“It’s a very big transaction, and we’ve agreed in principle. It’s billions and billions of dollars. Tremendous for the farmers,” President Trump said in an appearance with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan during the G7 summit in France.

Once in place, the deal will help correct a competitive disadvantage that has hampered American farmers since the U.S. pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“We are very happy that this agreement will end the growing competitive cost advantage that Canadian and Australian wheat imports got under the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement,” said U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Chairman and Paulding, Ohio, farmer Doug Goyings.

The United States is the top supplier of agricultural commodities to Japan. It buys $700 million worth of U.S. wheat each year, 48% of its supply. U.S. exports account for 70% of Japan’s corn purchases, 58% of its hay, 63% of its soybeans, 52% of its tree nuts, 48% of its beef and 15% of its dairy products.

Though there’s more work to do before a deal is signed, this still represents a significant improvement in trade relations. We hope it is a harbinger of better things to come.

While in France, Trump said that Chinese officials have signaled that they would like to reach a trade deal with the U.S. and de-escalate ongoing disputes.

We can only hope.

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