August 26, 2019
Idaho Wheat Commission Applauds U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement
President Trump announced this past weekend that the United States and Japan reached a trade agreement in principle to keep exports of U.S. wheat flowing to a large and critical market for farmers including growers in Idaho.
“This trade agreement will benefit growers in Idaho by ensuring that the Japanese market remains open to wheat grown in the U.S.,” said Ned Moon, chairman of the Idaho Wheat Commission, “Idaho growers have exported wheat to Japan for more than six decades. Japan typically sends a trade team to Idaho each year and the Japanese flour mills particularly prefer soft white wheat, which is ideal for their sponge cakes and pastries.”
U.S. wheat farmers, in partnership with U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service, have helped build a strong demand among Japan’s flour millers for several classes of U.S. wheat grown in the Pacific Northwest and the Northern and Central Plains.
When the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement was implemented on December 30, without the United States, the effective tariffs on imported Canadian and Australian wheat started to decline. Locked out of the agreement, U.S. wheat imports would have become less cost competitive to the point that Japan’s flour millers would have no other choice than to buy wheat from the CPTPP member countries.
The agreement, which President Trump said could be signed at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September, helps protect U.S. exports that represent about half of the Japanese wheat market, with average annual sales of about three million metric tons that are currently worth about $700 million per year.
Idaho growers have exported wheat to Japan since 1956.