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Great news from Tokyo

New U.S.-Japan treat pact gains approval

The important new U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement negotiated by the Trump administration is one key step closer to becoming a reality. Japan’s parliament has approved the pact. That means that it will go into effect once our Congress concurs.

This trade arrangement is enormously significant for the Hawkeye State. That’s why Gov. Kim Reynolds welcomed the positive news from Tokyo enthusiastically.

“When President Trump announced a negotiated trade agreement between the United States and Japan, I knew it meant a significant win for Iowa farmers,” the governor said in a statement released Wednesday. “Japan is not only a substantial economic power, but a key export market for Iowa beef, pork and corn. This agreement bolsters exports, provides much-needed relief and stability to Iowa’s ag sector, and places even greater pressure on China.”

According to information provided by Reynolds’ office, Japan ranks third as an export market for food and agricultural products produced in Iowa, including corn and soybeans. Impressively, for beef and pork it is the leading purchaser outside of the United States of those major Iowa products.

In anticipation of this trade agreement gaining the necessary endorsements by Japan’s parliament and our Congress, earlier this fall Reynolds and state Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, who heads the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, led a 24-member trade delegation to Japan. Recognizing that Japanese consumers already are key purchasers of Iowa products, they seized on the opportunities the new agreement affords to increase sales and investments substantially. According to the governor, in 2018 the value of the exports to Japan by Iowa companies was $1.5 billion. The possibility of growing that number is realistic because the pending pact eliminates or reduces many of Japan’s import tariffs on agricultural goods.

Reynolds efforts to keep Iowa’s economy flourishing deserve the support and applause of all Iowans. Her leadership is helping make sure that our state’s products are championed in markets worldwide.

The Daily Freeman-Journal welcomes the favorable action by Japan’s parliament regarding the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. We call upon Congress to give it swift approval. We also hope that will be complemented by prompt congressional approval of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. If these trade measures can be completed promptly and there is progress toward better trading arrangements with China, Iowa’s economy will be greatly benefited.

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