Washington, DC- Today U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called on U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to secure immediate duty elimination of Japan’s tariff on American grape juice concentrate. Casey, along with Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Carl Levin (D-MI) wrote in a letter that Japan’s tariffs on premium U.S. grape juice imports harm American growers who compete with producers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Italy, and Spain. Reducing Japan’s tariffs would make American exports more competitive and give consumers a wider range of quality options.
“Pennsylvania grape growers produce some of the best grapes and grape juice in the world, and they should not be burdened by excessive tariffs,” Senator Casey said. “Allowing for more free trade in this market will increase competitiveness and save American grape farmers about 20 percent annually. It’s a commonsense solution that ultimately advantages both parties.”
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Ambassador Froman and Secretary Vilsack:
We write on behalf of the grape growers in our states and across the country regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations with Japan. As TPP negotiations continue, we urge you to secure immediate duty elimination of Japan’s 19.1 percent tariff on U.S. grape juice concentrate under H.S. 2009.69.210. To ensure that all future U.S. grape juice exports enter Japan duty-free, we also ask that you secure the elimination of Japan’s other grape juice tariffs falling under H.S. 2009.69 and H.S. 2009.61, which range from 19.1 percent to 29.8 percent.
Elimination or reduction of tariffs on grape juice concentrate would immediately benefit hundreds of growers throughout the United States, including in Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Specifically, this would save family farmers about 20 percent annually and increase the competitiveness of premium-quality U.S. grape juice against lower-cost producers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Italy, and Spain that also supply the Japanese market.
A reduction in these tariffs would also benefit Japanese consumers and remanufacturers. Japan’s domestic grape sector is limited and the vast majority of grape juice sold in Japan is imported. Therefore, duty-free access for U.S. grape juice concentrate is not expected to have an impact on Japanese grape producers.
Japan is the one TPP market that offers an opportunity for immediate increased sales of U.S.-origin grape juice if Japan’s high tariffs are eliminated. We urge you to work towards a final TPP agreement that grants duty-free access into Japan for U.S. grape juice concentrate and that Japan’s other grape juice tariffs are reduced or eliminated.
We look forward to your response.