A trade agreement between Japan and the European Union could end up affecting American exports to Japan, reports MarketWatch. The agreement, signed last week, calls for Europe to lower tariffs on Japanese automobiles in return for Japan lowering tariffs on European meat and dairy products. Japan has been the biggest export market for U.S. beef and the second-biggest export market for U.S. pork.

“I would expect Europe having a more competitive position on pork markets than they do today, and beef markets as well,” American Farm Bureau Federation Chief Economist Bob Young said. “Any move that they make that would give Europe preferential tariff provisions than what the U.S. has just makes it that much tougher for us to land a product into that market.”

MarketWatch quotes two experts who suggested that the U.S. decision to abandon the Trans Pacific Partnership could have led to the trade agreement.

“The TPP, including the U.S., had been a main pillar of Japan’s trade strategy. Japan was forced to create a new strategy after the U.S. withdrawal from the TPP,” Junichi Sugawara, senior research officer at the Mizuho Research Institute in Tokyo, said in an email interview.

“Walking away from TPP without a meaningful alternative in place put U.S. beef producers at a serious disadvantage,” said Kent Bacus, director of international trade and market access at the cattle producer trade association National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, in a statement.

Source: MarketWatch