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US cattlemen seek Trump help to beat Australian competitors


America's beef and pork producers have written a letter to US President Donald Trump urging him to strike a free trade deal with Japan so they can combat Australia in the lucrative Japanese market.

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The US National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council were disappointed with Trump’s decision to axe America’s role in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement between the US, Australia, Japan and nine other nations.

Trump has said he will instead strike one-on-one deals with countries to get the best results for the US and will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House on Friday and play a round of golf in Florida.

Australia has a free trade agreement with Japan while US beef producers are hit with a 38.5 per cent tariff.

“There is strong demand for US beef and pork in Japan, and our presence in Japan’s market could be much larger with the reduction or elimination of tariffs and other import measures,” Craig Uden, president of the Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and John Weber, president of the National Pork Producers Council, wrote in the letter to the president.

“Under terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, Japan’s 38.5 percent tariff on fresh and frozen beef would have been cut to 9 percent over the phase-in period and would have provided us parity with Australia in the Japanese market.”

The NCBA has previously argued Australian beef producers’ tariff advantage in Japan has been able to capture over $US100 million in additional beef sales at the expense of US producers.


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