LINCOLN, NEB. – Nebraska Farm Bureau is urging United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai to push for the elimination of Japan’s quota system, which limits the amount of U.S. beef that can enter the country. In correspondence to the newly confirmed U.S. Trade Representative, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Mark McHargue identified numerous areas where Tai could act to boost markets for Nebraska farm and ranch families.
“Japan is a major market for Nebraska beef. Nebraska exports to Japan alone exceeded $362 million in 2020. Yet, we continue to struggle with Japan’s quota system that triggers additional tariffs on U.S. beef exports. One of the best things Trade Representative Tai could do for our state would be to work for the elimination of Japan’s beef quota,” said McHargue.
In addition to the quota issue, McHargue encouraged Tai to focus on three general trade areas including action to address the ongoing trade concerns with China, expanding international marketing opportunities, and supporting efforts to restore the integrity of the World Trade Organization through needed reforms.
“Enforcement of the current U.S.-China Phase One trade agreement is critical to agriculture. With the agreement set to expire at the end of 2021, it is imperative the administration act to stabilize and normalize trade with China. To get there, we encourage the administration to work with like-minded countries in a multi-lateral approach to develop rules and institutions to address the many outstanding concerns with China,” said McHargue.
Nebraska Farm Bureau also encouraged Tai and the administration to continue previous Trump era trade negotiations with both the United Kingdom and the European Union, as well as with Kenya. McHargue highlighted the need for the U.S. to forge ahead in rejoining the Trans- Pacific Partnership, now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The CPTPP is a free trade agreement between 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including two of Nebraska’s largest trade partners in Canada and Mexico, as well as Japan.
“China filled the power vacuum that was created when the U.S. pulled out of the original TPP deal. China subsequently signed a significant trade agreement with many of the CPTPP countries. It’s vital the Biden administration and Trade Representative Tai start us on the path of re-entry to the CPTPP so we can regain markets and influence, while pushing back against China,” said McHargue.
The importance of a global rules-based trading system, and the need for reforms to restore the diminished role of the World Trade Organization (WTO), were also noted in the Nebraska Farm Bureau correspondence. The WTO effectively became inoperable in 2019 when President Trump held up nominations of new members to the Appellate Body which hears appeals in disputes brought by WTO members.
“The most important component of the WTO is to enforce the trade rules that are in place. Given agriculture’s reliance on international trade and the continued need for a global rules-based trading system, it is essential the Biden administration approve new members to the Appellate Body as soon as possible,” said McHargue.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service, and advocacy efforts. More than 58,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit www.nefb.org.