The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) applaud the United States' decision to welcome Japan into Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade negotiations.
"Japan greatly enhances the potential value of the TPP to U.S. dairy producers and processors," says Jaime Castaneda, senior vice president for strategic initiatives and trade policy, USDEC and NMPF. "Japan is the third-largest economy in the world and already a major dairy importer. Reducing excessive tariffs and removing non-tariff barriers to trade will significantly increase U.S. dairy export opportunities, which helps drive overall U.S. dairy industry growth."
U.S. suppliers shipped $284 million worth of cheese, whey proteins, milk powder and other dairy products to Japan in 2012. It is the fifth-largest U.S. dairy export market, despite substantial market access barriers in many of the biggest dairy categories.
The U.S. Trade Representative's Office officially notified Congress of the American government's intention to enter into TPP trade talks in 2009. At that time, it did so with the idea that the TPP would eventually expand from the initial eight participants-Australia, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam-to the entire Asia-Pacific, thus expanding the economic significance of the deal.
"The addition of Canada in 2012 and now Japan greatly raises the possibility of a positive overall TPP dairy package. But negotiators must now follow through on another promise made back in 2009: concluding a high-standard trade agreement," says Castaneda. "We need to secure, in ongoing talks, effective disciplines on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, strong defense of common food names and meaningful competition policy changes in New Zealand's dairy sector."
Japan needs approval from all current TPP participants before officially joining the group. Although the United States has endorsed Japan's participation now, we expect that the rest of the TPP partners will soon follow suit. The 17th round of negotiations takes place May 15-24 in Lima, Peru. Japan will join the actual negotiations 90 days after the United States notifies Congress of their intent to enter into negotiations with Japan.