( File photo )

Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers praised the Japanese Diet’s approval of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement and urged the U.S. to address additional barriers to trade with Japan.

“With Japan’s parliamentary approval of the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement, the final hurdle for the deal to take effect on January 1st of 2020 has been cleared,” Tom Nassif, CEO of Western Growers, said in a Dec. 5 statement. “Western Growers appreciates the prompt action by the Japanese Diet, which will eliminate tariffs on a number of American fruit, vegetable and tree nut products and pave the way for significant export opportunities for our members.”

Nassif said Western Growers supports President Trump’s leadership in trying to win fair trade deals for U.S. farmers.

“We urge President Trump to follow through on his pledge to engage Prime Minister Abe in further trade talks to address additional barriers to trade,” Nassif said in the statement. “Chief among our remaining concerns are the non-scientific sanitary and phytosanitary measures that will continue to prohibit many American fresh produce items from entering Japan. No trade deal will be complete without these reforms to the Japanese importation system.” 

From November 2018 through October this year, U.S. exports of fresh fruits to Japan totaled $326.5 million, 4% above a year ago and 2% lower than two years ago. U.S. exports of fresh vegetables from November 2018 through October 2019 totaled $83.2 million, down 27% from a year earlier and 20% lower than two years ago.

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