US, Japan ink trade agreements

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(Washington) – US President Donald Trump hailed a banner day for American farmers, announcing two trade agreements with Japan that he said would deepen economic ties in agriculture and digital commerce.

The trade deals, which were formally unveiled last month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, come as Trump renews far more fraught negotiations later this week with China.

Trump´s trade wars have since last year profoundly disrupted trade ties for US farmers, who have borne the brunt of China´s retaliation.

US soybean exports to China have risen in recent weeks, however.

“These deals are a tremendous victory for both our nations,” Trump said Monday of the new US-Japan agreements.

“We love our farmers and our ranchers. We have been working hard on this.”

Under the agreement, Japan will cut tariffs for $7 billion in US farm exports, including beef and pork, while reducing mark-ups on purchases of American wheat and barley.

In return, Washington has agreed to cut US tariffs on $40 million in Japanese agricultural goods and to ease tariff rate quotas on the country´s beef, allowing Japan to compete for a greater share of the US market.

In a separate agreement, US and Japanese officials have also agreed to eliminate duties on digital products like videos, music and ebooks as well as to ensure cross-border that data transfers are barrier-free.