August 23,2012

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Baucus Promotes U.S. Exports in Meetings with Japanese Prime Minister, Economic, Trade Leaders

On Trade Mission, Finance Chairman Seeks Export Boost to Help Create U.S. Jobs

Tokyo, JapanSenate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), continuing his trade mission in Japan, met today with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba to break down trade barriers and seek new market access for U.S. exporters that would help create American jobs.  Senator Baucus also discussed the possibility of Japan joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations at some point in the future. 

“Japan is a close trading partner, and strengthening our relationship will create jobs at home and help the U.S. stay competitive in the global economy.  As part of strengthening this relationship, I let Japan’s Foreign Minister know they need to end Japan’s unscientific restrictions on 100-percent safe and delicious U.S. beef.  Hardworking American ranchers in Montana and across our country produce some of the best beef in the world, and these unfounded and unscientific restrictions hurt their bottom line and cost us jobs,” Senator Baucus said.  “The growing markets all across the Pacific are ripe for American exports and we need to make sure American ranchers, farmers, and businesses have access and can compete on a level playing field.  The U.S. can play a major role in the economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region, and strong trade relations with Japan will be a key to that effort.”

In his meetings today, Senator Baucus called for Japan to end its unscientific restrictions on U.S. beef products.  The World Health Organization (OIE) has long recognized that all cuts of U.S. beef, from animals of all ages, are safe. 

Japan is the world’s third largest economy, and U.S. exports to Japan totaled $113 billion in 2011.  The main U.S. exports to Japan include chemicals, pharmaceutical goods, films and music, commercial aircraft, nonferrous metals, plastics and medical and scientific supplies.  Senator Baucus last traveled to Japan in 2004 to explore the opportunity for expanded trade with the U.S.  As part of his continued efforts to increase U.S. exports and create good-paying U.S. jobs, more recently, he traveled to Russia in February to pursue export opportunities and discuss the U.S. establishing permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia (the Finance Committee passed his PNTR bill in July 2012).  In early 2011, Baucus led a trade mission to Colombia and Brazil to promote U.S. exports and prepare for the debate over the FTA with Colombia that had not yet been approved at that point.  Senator Baucus traveled to China in late 2010 to push China’s leaders on their currency undervaluation and boost American competitiveness.

In 2009, Senator Baucus pushed the administration to reaffirm the United States’ role as a robust partner in the TPP negotiations, and he has continually called for the agreement to strengthen U.S. job-creating trade ties and include high-level standards for labor, the environment and intellectual property.  In 2011, with Japan, Mexico and Canada announcing their interest in joining the TPP negotiations, Senator Baucus said each country must be ready to accept the TPP’s high-standard commitments.  Mexico and Canada will likely join the TPP this fall after congressional consultations conclude.  If Japan also joins the TPP in the future, the total number of consumers across TPP countries would grow by 50 percent, and the participating countries would represent more than 40 percent of global GDP.

Baucus’s trade mission first went through New Zealand, where he met on Monday with New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to pursue export opportunities for American businesses that would boost economic development and create jobs in the U.S.