Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Japan Set To Approve Trade Sanctions Against USA

Japan was to decide to impose its first-ever retaliatory sanctions against US imports in response to a controversial anti-dumping law enacted by its close ally, a report said.
Tariff rates would be around 15 percent in line with moves by Canada and the European Union, which have taken retaliatory actions against US products since May 1 over US legislation known as the Byrd Amendment, Jiji Press said. The government was to get approval from the Council on Customs, Tariff, Foreign Exchange and Other Transactions on Monday, it said without naming sources. No immediate comment was available from the trade ministry.
The tariffs would be the latest retaliation for the Byrd legislation, which redistributes levies on dumping -- selling items abroad at less than the price in the domestic market -- to US companies. Japan and other countries including the European Union took the case to the World Trade Organisation, which last year authorized sanctions amounting to 72 percent of the sums reaped by the US law. Jiji Press did not specify items to be slapped with the countervailing duties but earlier reports have said Japan would take action on steel and other industrial products, with higher tariffs taking effect possibly from September. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said last week that the tariffs would total up to 76.3 million dollars and that they would remain in place until Washington repeals the 2000 US law, which is named after Senator Robert Byrd.
Government leaders have also indicated Japan was ready for the sanctions but declined to set a timeline or give specifics. Japan's move for retaliatory tariffs could be another thorny issue in bilateral trade ties, which have already strained amid a dispute over when Japan would lift its ban on US beef imports, put in place in December 2003. Japan, the biggest importer of US beef before the ban, is under US pressure to resume the imports.