United States and Japan Reach an Agreement to Increase Beef Safeguard Trigger Level Under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement

March 24, 2022

WASHINGTON – United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai and United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today announced that the United States and Japan have reached an agreement to increase the beef safeguard trigger level under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. The new three-trigger safeguard mechanism will allow U.S. exporters to meet Japan’s growing demand for high-quality beef and reduce the probability that Japan will impose higher tariffs in the future. 
“This agreement is a great win for our two countries that ensures American farmers and ranchers can continue to meet Japan’s growing demand for high-quality U.S. beef,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai.  “I especially want to thank Ambassador Rahm Emanuel for his fierce determination to get this deal done. Today’s agreement is the latest example of the Biden-Harris Administration’s successful resolution of trade disputes with our partners that increases market access and economic opportunity for our producers and their workers.”
“This is a positive development for America’s farmers and ranchers. It allows for greater market-based growth in U.S. beef exports to Japan and reduces the probability of higher Japanese tariffs being imposed on U.S. goods,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “America’s farmers and ranchers have beef products that can compete anywhere in the globe and this announcement will allow them to demonstrate just that. I want to thank Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, Ambassador Katherine Tai and the entire team at USTR for their work to get this deal across the finish line.” 
“This is a win-win for American ranchers and Japanese consumers,” said United States Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel. “It ensures certainty for years and shows American beef can compete and win anywhere anytime.”
The agreement includes a new three-trigger mechanism whereby all three triggers must be hit in order for Japan to implement the safeguard and impose a higher tariff.  The three triggers are:

  1. Imports from the United States must exceed the original beef safeguard trigger level under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement;
  2. The aggregate volume of beef imports from the United States and the original signatories of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) must exceed the CPTPP beef safeguard; and
  3. Imports from the United States must exceed the total amount of beef imports from the United States during the previous year.

Both governments will work to finalize the text of the agreement reflecting the new trigger levels and complete their respective domestic procedures.  The United States, in consultation with Japan, will publish the final text of the agreement at the soonest, appropriate time.
In 2021, the United States was the top beef exporting country in the world, with global sales of beef and beef products valued at over $10 billion.  Exports of U.S. beef to Japan totaled almost $2.4 billion in 2021.