American farmers on Monday welcomed a trade agreement reached in principle between the United States and Japan, saying the tariff-cutting deal would help them gain competitiveness instead of continuing to lose ground to foreign rivals.

"We are very happy that this agreement will end the growing competitive cost advantage that Canadian and Australian wheat imports got" under the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, which took effect last year without the United States, a national wheat association said in a statement.

The U.S. was the leading TPP member but pulled out in 2017 after President Donald Trump said he preferred bilateral trade deals. He has also pushed for a deal to reduce the hefty U.S. trade deficit with Japan.