Overview

Japan, with a population of about 125 million and limited area available for farming, is one of the world’s top five importers of agricultural products and a major market for U.S. agricultural exports. A variety of domestic policies in Japan affect and support producers of certain commodities. In addition, Japan imposes tariffs on imports of many agricultural products, and other trade policies protect domestic production. Despite the protection, Japan imports about $58 billion in agricultural products each year, with approximately one-third from the United States, the leading supplier of Japan’s agricultural imports.
Similarly, South Korea, with a population of 51 million and limited arable land, has turned increasingly to food imports to satisfy consumers’ demands for greater food variety, lower prices, and convenience. South Korea is among the top ten markets for U.S. agricultural exports, and the country's market for consumer-ready food items is growing.

Until 2016, ERS conducted research and analysis on Japan’s and South Korea’s food and agricultural sectors and the policies that affect their roles in world agricultural trade. Although ERS has suspended the research program focusing on these countries, the agency continues to publish trade data on U.S. agricultural trade with Japan and South Korea as part of the Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States data set

 ERS outputs on Japan’s and South Korea’s agricultural sectors 

  • Tariff Reforms and the Competitiveness of U.S. Beef in Japan Japan is one of the largest beef importing countries in the world and an important destination market for the United States. This report examines how Japanese importers view U.S. beef vis-a-vis imports from Australia and other countries, how imports differ across beef products, and how market access reform might affect Japanese beef imports. 
  • "Japan, Vietnam, and the Asian Model of Agricultural Development and Trade" Fast-developing Vietnam is following in the footsteps of Japan and its model of export-oriented industrialization. Vietnamese agricultural imports are rising fast and appear to be following the historical growth pattern of Japan’s imports. Trade policy in both countries has protected agricultural imports, selectively favoring imported inputs relative to consumer-ready products. 
  • The Rice Market in South Korea This report reviews this significant market for U.S. rice with regard to the new tariff-rate quota, production policies, and internal Korean supply and demand.