Japan's Upper House approves U.S. trade deal

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Japan's Upper House approves U.S. trade deal

Japan's Upper House on Wednesday approved a trade deal with the U.S. that slashes tariffs on farm and industrial goods, clearing the way for its entry into force at the beginning of next year.

The deal, agreed to by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump in September, was approved following its passage in the Lower House last month.

The White House says it does not need to consult Congress, meaning domestic procedures in both countries have effectively wrapped up.

The National Potato Council welcomed the news.

“As the largest export market for U.S. potatoes, Japan is vital for the continued health and prosperity of America’s potato growers and industry partners," said Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council.

"Today’s action will restore tariff reductions and place the U.S. potato industry on a level playing field with our foreign competitors. Looking forward, NPC and our domestic partners will continue to work to expand access to the vital Japanese market for high quality U.S. potato exports."

It added that the approval "solidifies the trade benefits previously negotiated under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement".

Once fully implemented, the agreement will reduce and eventually remove tariffs on U.S. frozen and flaked potatoes.

Japan is the U.S. potato industry’s largest export market with exports totaling over US$350m in the past year. Given a competitive tariff regime and reasonable market access agreements, it is believed that this market can grow by another US$150m annually (42%) in the very near future.

The U.S. citrus industry is also expected to benefit heavily from the deal.

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