“The major issue in trade now for the Asia-Pacific region is progress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations and the addition of Japan to these talks,” said Bob Hanson, president of Montana Farm Bureau and an American Farm Bureau Federation board member in testifying before the Senate Finance Committee.

“The aim of the negotiations is to reach a comprehensive, high-standard agreement that will improve the conditions of trade between the participating countries, which currently include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and the United States,” he noted.

Japan is the United States’ fourth-largest agricultural export destination, with $13.5 billion in sales in 2012.

“While Japan is a top market for U.S. agricultural exports of wheat, corn, soybeans, beef and pork it also has many restrictive policies in place that inhibit U.S. agricultural imports, such as substantial tariffs on dairy, horticulture, rice and other products, along with various sanitary and phytosanitary barriers,” Hanson said.

The goal would be to eliminate those restrictive policies by Japan. Hanson concluded his testimony by urging Congress to take a strong leadership role in the TPP negotiations, especially regarding the addition of Japan to the talks.