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U.S. signs beef export agreement with Japan

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai signed a new agreement on June 2 to revise the beef safeguard mechanism under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement (USJTA). The agreement puts into place a three-trigger safeguard mechanism.

“After a pretty lengthy negotiation process, Japan and the U.S. signed this agreement to increase the beef safeguard trigger levels,” says National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Vice President Mark Eisele. “What this allows is an increase for American producers to continue exporting American high-quality beef to meet their end.”

Tai says the agreement will ensure Japan’s demand for U.S. beef is met, while also increasing market opportunities. 

“I want to thank Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Ambassador Rahm Emanuel for helping to get this agreement done. Together, the U.S. and Japan are demonstrating our commitment to working together on shared priorities to achieve concrete, economically meaningful results for our people,” she says.


Under the new agreement, three criteria must be met for Japan to execute the safeguard and impose a temporary, higher tariff on U.S. beef.

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture news release, “The three criteria are: Imports from the U.S. must exceed the original beef safeguard trigger level under the USJTA; The aggregate volume of beef imports from the U.S. 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 U.S. must exceed the total amount of beef imports from the U.S. during the previous year. This third trigger will be in effect until 2027.”

The U.S. was the top beef exporting country in the world in 2021, and Japan is the U.S.’s second largest beef export market, accounting for over $2.3 billion in sales in 2021. 

Eisele says the safeguard is necessary for the U.S. to be as successful as possible in beef exports this year.

“This is really important because the record-setting imports last year triggered the safeguard, triggering an increase of tariff, and this agreement will let us export without the high penalty of the tariff,” he says.

The agreement is beneficial for producers across the U.S. beef supply chain, Eisele adds.

“This agreement will increase export access to foreign markets,” he says. “This allows everyone in the production chain – from producer to retailer – to get the best price and capitalize on our consumer demand and try to maximize those exports, particularly of beef.”

Eisele mentions NCBA is pleased with this agreement and the benefits it will offer U.S. producers.

“We are working really hard at NCBA to get the best dollar return for our producers,” Eisele says. “This is one of many steps we’ve taken in a really trying time. Since 2021, with all the stuff that’s gone on, we’ve had over a 40 percent increase of those exports, so we feel really good about it at this point in time.”

Kaitlyn Root is an editor for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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