President Donald Trump formally signed the U.S.-Japan-Free Trade Agreement on Oct. 6. This agreement locks in tariff benefits with Japan that were previously negotiated under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement but lost when the U.S. failed to ratify it.
According to Jared Balcom, grower in Pasco, Washington, and VP of trade affairs for the National Potato Council, “We’re extremely pleased that the administration has taken this important step. Japan imported more than $400 million of U.S. potato and potato products in 2018. In this agreement, Japan will eliminate tariffs on most potato products, including immediate elimination of the 4.3% tariff on fresh potatoes, and elimination of the 8.5% tariff on frozen French fries over three years. Japan will also phase out the current 20% on dehydrated potatoes in five years.”
A group of House Ways & Means Democrats led by Chairman Richard Neal (D-NJ) traveled to Mexico to discuss the implementation of USMCA’s labor provisions with Mexican President López Obrador, high-ranking Mexican government officials, as well as Mexican workers and labor leaders.
It was announced Oct. 11 that the US and China had come to agreement on “Phase 1” of a multi-stage negotiation. A part of this agreement will involve delaying or eliminating the next round of tariff increases that were due to take place.