The value of trade is more important to American agriculture than ever before. Ted McKinney, who serves as Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, addressed agricultural trade during his presentation at the Dairy Business Association’s Dairy Strong Conference held in Madison, Wis.
Following closely behind Mexico, Canada, and China, McKinney said that Japan is an extremely important market for U.S. trade.
“Japan is our number one market for value purchases, whether it is beef, pork, corn, soybeans, dairy, or whatever,” he said. “It’s an incredible market.”
With the TPP-11 (the Trans-Pacific Partnership signed by 11 countries) going into effect at the beginning of this year without the U.S. included, McKinney emphasized the need to get a U.S.-Japan free trade agreement done quickly. “Our competitors in the region are having their way with reduced barriers to that market,” he said.
Still, McKinney had good news to share. He has been to Japan twice, and he assured the audience that the Japanese love our products.
“U.S. dairymen and women, don’t ever take for granted the quality and safety of the product you produce,” he said. “The world knows where safe products of high quality are made and where they are not. We have that brand.”
Focusing back on Japan, McKinney continued, “I can tell you without any hesitation that Japan is very high on USTR’s (United States Trade Representative) list of priorities, and ag is very high on the list of issues with Japan. I expect things to move very quickly.”