JETRO chairman urges trade deal ratification

Governor Pete Rickets, JETRO Chairman and CEO Hiroyuki Ishige, and UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green at Nebraska Innovation Campus on Sept. 13, 2016.

September 14, 2016

Lincoln, Neb. — Nebraska can expect to benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Hiroyuki Ishige, chairman and CEO of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), told assembled guests at Nebraska Innovation Campus on Tuesday afternoon. Ishige spoke as a guest of the Clayton K. Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance currently in development at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement among twelve Pacific Rim countries including the United States and Japan, which was signed in February following seven years of negotiations. The TPP is a comprehensive free trade agreement, integrating 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. The countries involved now must ratify, or implement the deal, a task which could be challenging during a Presidental election year in the U.S.

“The TPP has achieved a high level of organization and unification because the U.S. and Japan have joined hands in leadership,” said Ishige. “In order to further trade and advancement in the Asia-Pacific, quick ratification by each country is crucial.”

In Japan, JETRO is fostering the growth of TPP by creating a taskforce for TPP utilization and holding TPP seminars for companies. They have also established a consortium of “Japan as a New Exporting Power.”

Japan is one of Nebraska’s largest trade partners in Asia, importing about 20 percent of the state’s beef and 50 percent of its pork. A 38 percent tariff is currently imposed on the export of beef from Nebraska to Japan. Through the TPP, that tariff would be reduced to nine percent. That is a significant reduction, which cannot be overlooked according to Governor Pete Rickets, who also spoke during the event.

“This is an opportunity to make our producers here at home, more competitive in markets overseas,” said Governor Pete Ricketts.

Overseas trade markets are critical to the growth of Nebraska. In 2014, 48 percent of goods exported out of Nebraska went to TPP member countries. In addition, trade with TPP member countries supports 109,000 jobs in the state.

“Reduced tariffis and integrated rules through the TPP would expand these economic effects,” Ishige said.

Understanding the economic benefits of the expansion of free trade will be a focus for UNL students in the Yeutter Institute. The university and the University of Nebraska Foundation have been conducting private fundraising for the planned institute, which is pending Board of Regents approval. The governor and Nebraska Legislature provided a one-time investment of $2.5 million in the 2015-17 biennium for endowed chairs at the institute. Including all support and pledged gifts, funding for the institute stands at $8 million.

 “We have to build the groundwork for boosting international trade in agriculture,” said Yeutter, who introduced his long-time friend and colleague Ishige, at the event. Yeutter is a Nebraska alumnus, former U.S. Agriculture Secretary and also served as a U.S. Trade Representative.

The Institute builds on strengths present across UNL, to expand the international component of its teaching and research programs. UNL recently announced the three endowed chairs, which will be the foundation of the institute. The Duane Acklie Chair will be established in the College of Business Administration; the Michael Yanney Chair will be established in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources; and the Clayton Yeutter Chair will be established in the College of Law.

Jill Brown
External Relations
Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Author: Haley Steinkuhler