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Free Trade Agreements

Free trade agreements play a major role in international red meat exports. See tabs below for USMEF summaries and analysis on the impact of U.S. trade agreements for U.S. red meat exports. 

On Oct. 16, 2018, USTR notified Congress that the Trump administration intends to negotiate three separate trade agreements with Japan, the European Union and the United Kingdom. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom issued the following statement:

“USMEF’s membership, which includes all sectors of the U.S. red meat supply chain, commends the Trump administration for its decision to move forward on trade negotiations with these key trading partners. Global demand for U.S. pork, beef and lamb is strong and exports are on the rise, but we must have a level playing field for this growth to continue. This is a critical step toward reducing tariffs and other trade barriers – especially in Japan, which is our leading value market for red meat exports. The importance and urgency of the U.S.-Japan trade negotiations cannot be overstated. Japan is a tremendous market for U.S. beef and pork, and recently reopened to U.S. lamb. Among our primary competitors in Japan’s red meat arena, Australia, Mexico and Chile are already benefiting from economic partnership agreements (EPAs) and others will soon capitalize on the Japan-EU EPA and the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, which will be implemented in the coming months. This makes it even more essential that the United States secures similar terms for U.S. red meat products.”

On Dec. 10, 2018, USMEF filed comments with USTR on negotiating objectives for a U.S.-EU trade agreement. A public hearing was held Dec. 14, 2018.

UPDATE: In January 2019, USTR published negotiating objectives which include improving market access for U.S. agricultural products entering the EU. The EU’s negotiating directives, as approved on April 15, specifically exclude agricultural trade. USMEF and other agricultural organizations support USTR’s position that agricultural trade must be included. If ag trade is excluded, it is difficult to envision a trade agreement with the EU gaining enough support in Congress to be ratified.