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Ricketts hails approval of U.S.-Japan trade agreement
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Ricketts hails approval of U.S.-Japan trade agreement

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Gov. Pete Ricketts on Wednesday hailed final Japanese approval of a new trade agreement with the United States negotiated by President Donald Trump as "a big win for Nebraska farmers and ranchers."

The agreement, ratified by the Japanese Diet in what the Financial Times described as record time, will reduce tariffs on U.S. beef, pork, corn and other farm commodities.

In effect, the new trade pact reduces tariffs on U.S. beef and pork to the same levels contained in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that President Trump abandoned when he assumed office almost three years ago, the Financial Times reported. 

As a result of the new agreement negotiated with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, "U.S. farmers are no longer disadvantaged relative to Canadian or Australian competitors," the publication stated.

The new trade pact with Japan "will help expand what is already Nebraska's top market for ag exports," Ricketts said.

In 2018, Nebraska exported more than $1.1 billion of agricultural products to Japan, the governor said.  Last year, Japan bought more Nebraska beef, pork, wheat and eggs than any other country.

Japan is also the second largest export market for Nebraska corn, Ricketts  said.  

Once the agreement is implemented, more than 90% of U.S. food and agricultural products imported into Japan will either be duty-free or receive preferential tariff access, according to the governor's office.  

The trade pact will take effect on Jan. 1.

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

On Twitter @LJSdon

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