American farmers received some good news last week when President Trump signed an interim trade deal with Japan.

The trade deal gives farmers some relief just when they need it because of Trump’s trade war with China, which has diminished the market for U.S. ag products.

With the Japan agreement, U.S. farmers finally will have a level playing field into that market.

The agreement lowers Japanese tariffs on U.S. ag products, such as pork and beef.

U.S. farmers have had difficulty in the Japanese market since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Since then, other countries such as New Zealand and Australia have had preferred access to Japan.

With the trade deal, American farmers now will be able to compete with them.

This will increase the value of ag products from Nebraska and creates a larger market for them.

Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, praised the interim agreement.

“There’s still more work to do, but this is really great news for Nebraska’s producers,” Sasse said.

“We need more trade deals in the Pacific because they are great for business in Nebraska and it helps build allies as we turn up the pressure on China to stop their constant cheating.”

Steve Nelson, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, said the trade deal also sends an important message around the world.

“It is time to send a clear message to the rest of the world: The United States is open for business,” Nelson said.

Nelson added that the trade agreement is big news for Nebraska. Japan is the state’s fourth largest trading partner with sales at $552 million in 2017, including $253 million of beef.

“U.S. beef is king in Japan,” Nelson said.

Farmers have had a difficult year with Trump’s tariff battle with China depressing prices for corn, soybeans, beef and pork. In addition, the weather has been stressful with many fields flooded.

But now, American farmers enter the harvest season with some good news on the trade front that should help increase demand and prices for farm products.

Let’s hope that the harvest goes well and any cold weather holds off.

Farmers deserve some good news and perhaps the Japanese agreement will prompt China and the U.S. to also reach a deal and get Congress to approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA).

Grand island Independent

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