OMAHA - New trade-related announcements offer a measure of encouragement to the Midlands agricultural sector, which has been hard hit this year by export woes, anemic prices and horrendous weather. Still, big uncertainties remain on the trade front regarding China as well as a new North American trade pact.
On the positive side, Japan has signed a preliminary trade agreement that will end the major price disadvantages U.S. ag producers have faced against foreign competitors. Essentially, the U.S. will face the same tariff levels as members of the trans-Pacific trade agreement from which the Trump administration withdrew in 2017. For example, the new U.S.-Japan pact means U.S. beef producers will no longer face a steep 38.5% tariff in Japan while Australia and New Zealand market their beef exports for far less.
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