September 30, 2019
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Federal Issues

U.S.-Japan Trade agreement good news for Washington farmers

A new trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan was signed by President Trump and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The agreement lowers or eliminates tariffs in Japan on American farm products like fresh beef, almonds, wheat and many other products, The White House reports.

“Once this agreement is implemented, over 90 percent of U.S. food and agricultural products imported into Japan will either be duty free or receive preferential tariff access,” The White House reports in this fact sheet.

This “limited” agreement, the newspaper reports, could clear the way for a more comprehensive agreement in the future.

“Japanese tariffs will now be significantly lower or eliminated completely on beef, pork, wheat, cheese, corn, wine and so much more,” President Donald Trump said. The deal will open markets for about $7 billion in U.S. agriculture products, he added.

The deal will allow American farmers to better compete in Japan, which is the world’s third-largest economy.

“American agricultural exporters have been disadvantaged in the Japanese market ever since Mr. Trump pulled out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership at the beginning of his presidency,” the newspaper reported. “The other 11 nations had completed that deal and thus obtained lower tariffs in Japan’s market.”

The U.S. will lower or remove tariffs on some Japanese industrial and agricultural goods. Examples include specific machine tools, fasteners, steam turbines, flowers, green tea and soy sauce.

The two countries have also agreed to new rules around digital trade, including a prohibition on imposing tariffs on digital products transmitted electronically, like videos, music, e-books, software and games, the newspaper reports.

“The deal ensures barrier-free cross border data transfers,” the newspaper reports.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce applauded the deal but said there’s more work to do.

“The Chamber strongly urges the administration to hold fast to its commitment to achieve a comprehensive, high-standard trade agreement with Japan that addresses the full range of our trade priorities,” said Myron Brilliant, head of international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Contact Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for federal issues, to learn more.

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Freeways Aren't Free

The Times recommends: Reject car tabs Initiative 976 and its devastating effects

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

In his latest ballot measure, initiative promoter Tim Eyman is overreaching again. He conjures a fantasy world in which Washington's transportation infrastructure is complete, efficient and everlasting.

The real-life Initiative 976 is a direct threat to Washington's well-being. It would cut repairs to streets and bridges of 62 districts across the state, delay voter-approved mass transit in mid-construction and cost taxpayers more money in the long run. The statewide transportation budget, including highway construction and the State Patrol, would be shorted $4 billion over the next decade.

Little wonder large employers including Amazon, Alaska Airlines and Microsoft, business groups, city and county officials, unions and environmental concerns oppose I-976...

Nothing about I-976 is a good idea, in terms of responsible governance or prudent money management. Eyman asks voters to buy a falsity that there's some miraculous way to fund our state's backlog of bridge, road and transit needs. Because the courts cannot end this toxic nonsense quickly enough, voters must reject I-976 themselves.

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times