Gov. Pete Ricketts on Wednesday urged the Trump administration to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with Japan following news that U.S. frozen beef exports to Japan have declined by 26 percent.

Shortly after taking office in January, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and Japan, which had been a trade partner in TPP, subsequently raised its tariff on frozen beef from the United States by 50 percent in July.

The sharp decline in U.S. beef exports "underscores the urgency for Congress and the Trump administration to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with Japan to address the beef tariff rates as well as other agricultural market access issues," Ricketts said in a statement.

"A new deal is critical to growing our No. 1 commodity here in the Beef State."

Japan is Nebraska's No. 1 export market for beef products, with a value of more than $316 million in 2016 alone, the governor noted.

"Throughout my trade mission to Japan last month, I urged Japanese officials to come to the table to negotiate with the U.S. to lower their tariff so they could receive more of our quality beef products," Ricketts said. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

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