Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, John Barrasso and Congresswoman Liz Cheney, all R-Wyo., sent a letter urging Vice President Mike Pence to prioritize eliminating Japan’s 3.3 percent tariff on U.S. soda ash at the next U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue meeting.

Since 2014, U.S. exports of natural soda ash to Japan have decreased by 2 percent while Chinese exports of synthetic soda ash to Japan have increased by 73 percent. The delegation wrote that synthetic soda ash is lower quality and is less environmentally friendly than natural soda ash.

“Eliminating the 3.3 percent duty would help U.S. soda ash exports to compete more fairly in Japan and prevent further market share erosion,” the delegation wrote. “In addition, greater soda ash exports would contribute towards reducing the U.S.’s nearly $70 billion trade deficit with Japan.”

Wyoming has a unique deposit of natural soda ash, which is a basic raw material required to manufacture commodities such as glass and detergents. The delegation wrote that the U.S. soda ash industry produces roughly 20 percent of the total global output and supports more than 20,000 well-paying direct and indirect jobs in the country.

As co-chairmen of the U.S.-Japan Economic Dialogue, Pence and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso are expected to meet in Japan to discuss economic cooperation and share domestic policies.

The full text of the letter is available here.