Japan slashing tariffs on U.S. potatoes in 2020
Starting January 1, 2020, Japan plans to lower its tariffs on U.S. frozen fries to 4.2% (from 8.5%) and on U.S. dehydrated potato flakes to 13.3% (from 20%). Further reductions will follow on April 1, 2020, and beyond. Japan finalized the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement approval process by passing the agreement in both houses of its Diet (Congress) last week. The U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement implementation is set to begin at the start of the year, pending signature by President Trump. The U.S. Congress does not have to ratify, due to a provision of the fast track authority, which allows the Executive Branch to make trade deals.
Japan is the U.S. potato industry’s largest export market, with exports totaling over $350 million in the past year. Once the trade agreement is fully implemented, tariffs on U.S. frozen and dehydrated flaked potatoes will eventually be removed. Thus, leveling the playing field with the European Union and the countries in the regional CPTPP, including Australia and New Zealand, our main competitors in Japan. It is estimated that with the elimination of the current tariffs, our Japan market could expand by an additional $150 million annually in the foreseeable future.