USMEF Asking for Additional Changes to Japan’s Safeguard

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office recently updated the status of its consultations with Japan when it comes to the Safeguard of U.S. beef. Dan Halstrom, President and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation says while he appreciates the effort to prioritize the Safeguard update, more needs to be done.

Halstrom says American exports triggered the Safeguard in March 2021, meaning Japan increased the tariffs on U.S. beef from 25.8 percent to 38.5 percent for roughly a month.

“This may not sound disruptive, but in fact, the timing of it is extremely disruptive.  March/April is right before one of the businesses consumption times of the year, the Golden Week holidays. So, of course our concerns going forward is if we can’t come to an agreement, we run the risk of triggering the Safeguard each and every year.”

Halstrom says he worries the Safeguard will be an issue this April, and every April into the future, unless changes are made. He adds that Japanese importers know the U.S. runs this risk of triggering a Safeguard each year.

“Whereas our primary competition around the world, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, etc., that are CPTPP trading partners, they do not have any risk of triggering a Safeguard.  The other big competitor out there, Australia, the last few years has been running a deficit in terms of available production as they dealt with their drought issues.  However, the last two years, they’ve been getting rain, they’ve been holding cattle.  At some point, these cattle are going to start coming to market, and we will see bigger production levels available out of Australia for Japan.”

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