Baucus Headed to New Zealand, Japan to Promote Montana Trade, Jobs
Senator Leading Effort to Open American Trade Opportunities with Pacific Economies
Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2012
Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2012
(Washington, D.C.) - Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus is headed to New Zealand and Japan next week to support Montana jobs by opening new opportunities to sell Montana products overseas. As leader of the Senate Committee that oversees trade, Baucus will promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership - a new free trade agreement that provides the United States with a critical opportunity to break down barriers that have made it difficult to sell Montana products, like beef, in some of the world's most important markets.
"More trade means more jobs, and more jobs is what this trip is all about. The Asia Pacific region will drive the next wave of economic growth, so America has to strengthen our trade ties with countries like Japan and New Zealand to stay competitive," Baucus said.
"Japan is a huge market for Montana farmers and ranchers, but unfounded barriers to Montana beef are hurting our ranchers and the jobs they depend on. So, I'm taking our case straight to the top.
"New Zealand is a critical partner for us in securing a Trans-Pacific Partnership that will make it easier for Montana to sell our world-class goods in the growing Pacific market and make sure our trading partners play by the rules. When the playing field is level, Montana's farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs can compete with the best in the world."
During the trip, Baucus will meet with both countries' Prime Ministers, top cabinet officials and opposition party leaders, along with leaders from the business communities. Baucus will also examine the economic success of New Zealand's indigenous people, the Maori, in hopes of drawing parallels that could help promote job creation in Montana's Reservation communities. And Baucus will meet with Americans building ties with Japan through the Mansfield fellowship, a program named after the late Montana Senator and Ambassador to Japan Mike Mansfield.
o Japan is the fourth-largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, valued at $11.8 billion in 2010. And Japan remains the largest purchaser of Montana wheat, accounting for over 50 percent of Montana's 116 million exported bushels in 2011. Still, Japan's average agricultural import tariff of 15.7 percent is among the world's highest for industrialized countries.
o In 2011, Japan was the third largest market for U.S. beef. But, Japan currently only accepts American beef under 21 months of age, and American beef exports to Japan would be significantly higher if Japan were to remove its unscientific restrictions on U.S. beef - something Baucus has long fought for.
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