The big news in beef markets last week was the increased access of U.S. beef in Japan. The agreement allows U.S. beef from all age cattle to enter Japan which removes a previous 30-month age limit. Below is an excerpt from the USDA announcement.
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that this expanded access could increase U.S. beef and beef product exports to Japan by up to $200 million annually. The agreement is also an important step in normalizing trade with Japan, as Japan further aligns its import requirements with international standards for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).” (Read the full announcement here).
This is an important removal of a non-tariff barrier. Japan is a $2 billion market for U.S. beef and an additional $200 million annually is a sizable leap. However, there are still tariff barriers in place as U.S. beef faces a steeper tariff than competing countries exporting beef to Japan. The headlines of “Full access” are a bit misleading. It is true that we can export beef from any age cattle, but that beef is still subject to a tariff. For more background on U.S. beef tariffs in Japan, HERE is a link to an article from this newsletter series in 2018.