United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Japan’s Ambassador to the United States Koji Tomita confirmed in an exchange of letters that amendments to the beef safeguard trigger level under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement (USJTA) will enter into force on January 1, 2023. The letters confirm that both countries have completed their respective domestic procedures with respect to the June 2, 2022, Protocol Amending the Trade Agreement Between Japan and the United States of America (Protocol) and also confirm the agreed upon entry into force date of January 1.
“The new beef safeguard agreement will ensure that America’s farmers and ranchers can continue to meet Japan’s strong demand for high-quality U.S. beef,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “I am grateful to leaders and stakeholders in both countries for their dedication and ingenuity, which were essential to reaching this important outcome. The Biden Administration will continue working to strengthen the U.S. – Japan bilateral trade relationship and increase market opportunities for producers and our workers.”
On June 2, 2022, the United States and Japan signed the Protocol to revise the beef safeguard mechanism under the USJTA which amends the beef safeguard trigger level with a new, three-trigger safeguard mechanism. This amendment will allow U.S. beef exporters to more reliably meet Japan’s growing demand for high-quality beef, providing more predictability and reducing the probability that safeguard duties would be imposed on U.S. beef, as occurred in early 2021.
The agreement includes a new mechanism whereby three criteria must be met in order for Japan to implement the safeguard and impose a temporary, higher tariff on U.S. beef. The three criteria are:
Imports from the United States must exceed the original beef safeguard trigger level under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement;
The aggregate volume of beef imports from the United States and the original signatories of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) must exceed the CPTPP beef safeguard; and
Imports from the United States must exceed the total amount of beef imports from the United States during the previous year. This third trigger will be in effect until 2027.
In 2021, the United States was the top beef exporting country in the world, with global sales of beef and beef products valued at over $10 billion. Exports of U.S. beef to Japan totaled almost $2.4 billion in 2021, with Japan representing the United States’ second largest beef export market.