Good news this week for U.S. agricultural producers: the Obama Administration resolved three market access issues that had been blocking exports to two important markets for America’s farmers and ranchers – Japan and Australia.
On Tuesday, the Government of Japan announced the resumption of purchases for U.S. Western White and Soft White wheat, following a suspension of imports with the April finding of an unauthorized variety of genetically engineered wheat in an Oregon field. Japan intends to purchase more than 178,000 metric tons of U.S. wheat, including 90,000 metric tons of Western wheat.
Australia has approved new measures that allow U.S. exports of California table grapes into Western Australia.
And Australia has also approved new measures that allow exports to that country of U.S. peaches and nectarines from California, Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
The Office of the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture had been working to break down barriers to both markets for U.S. wheat and fruit. Under the rules-based global trading system, governments have a responsibility to find ways to facilitate trade of food and agricultural products, provided the products are safe for human consumption and the health of plants. These steps by the governments of Japan and Australia to remove restrictions on U.S. agricultural products were based on scientific decisions that these products can safely be traded – and now American farmers can look forward to more job-supporting exports.