WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) is hopeful after U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent announcement of intent to ratify a free trade agreement with Japan.

“On Oct. 16, 2018, my administration notified the Congress that I intended to initiate trade negotiations with Japan on a United States-Japan Trade Agreement,” Trump said. “As stated in that notification and subsequent consultations with the Congress, my administration proposed pursuing negotiations with Japan in stages. I am pleased to report that my administration has reached an initial trade agreement regarding tariff barriers with Japan and I intend to enter into the agreement in the coming weeks.”

According to the AFIA, Japan represents the United States’ third largest export market behind Canada and Mexico for feed, feed ingredients and pet food products at a value of $986 million in 2018.

“AFIA is pleased the administration has reached an initial trade agreement on tariff barriers with Japan and intends to enter into the agreement in the coming weeks,” said Joel G. Newman, chief executive officer of the AFIA. “We are hopeful this agreement will show progress in bringing the U.S. animal food industry closer to the level of tariff treatment Japan affords our competitors in the recently implemented Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. We are eager to review the final text and for further developments in subsequent bilateral negotiations with Japan.”

Trump’s notification to Congress is one of the most recent steps he has taken to move the agreement forward. 

In late August, the United States and Japan announced the workings of a new trade deal that would focus on agriculture, industrial tariffs and digital trade. Japan will buy up to $7 billion of U.S. agricultural products, mostly corn, under the agreement.