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Bob Larson Improving Trade with Japan Pt 2
by Bob Larson, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: March 14, 2019

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With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Light a fire under Lighthizer. That’s the hopes of the entire Washington Congressional delegation that sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative last week with regards to working out a better trade relationship with Japan.

The letter, led by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell and Representative Dan Newhouse specifically calls out Japan’s overly restrictive policies that have effectively blocked Washington apple growers from shipping to Japan for decades.

But, Newhouse is optimistic Lighthizer has the means …

NEWHOUSE … “And so, I am very encouraged that the commitment by the Trade Representative to make sure that this happens.”

Newhouse says trade with all Asian markets is important to Washington state producers, but Japan is a key destination …

NEWHOUSE … “Absolutely! You know, Japan is a critical market for a lot of different products that we produce. Certainly, some of our fruit products, apples and cherries, and U.S. wheat is a major import there as well.”

Especially, Newhouse says, given Washington’s accessibility ...

NEWHOUSE … “You know Japan has historically been a strong trading partner and should continue to be so. You know, in Washington state is the closest of the lower 48 to these markets in Asia. And, so it’s critically important that they remain open to us. And so, for the success of Washington state agriculture, this is a very important step.”

Washington state grows roughly 67 percent of all U.S. apples and is responsible for nearly 90 percent of total U.S. apple exports.

Washington state apple growers have long sought meaningful access to Japanese markets, but restrictive import requirements have prevented it.

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In addition to Cantwell and Newhouse, the letter was signed by U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Rep. Adam Smith, Rep. Rick Larsen, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Derek Kilmer, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, and Rep. Kim Schrier.

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