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Thursday, November 27, 2003

Japan Ups the Anti: A Little

The US textile tariff problem continues to go the rounds: this time it's the Japanese who are sabre rattling. Let's hope it stops at that.

Japan on Wednesday threatened to impose $85.2m in retaliatory tariffs on US imports in response to America's decision to keep its duties on steel imports intact. Japan officially notified the WTO of a list of "rebalancing" tariffs of up to 30 per cent it would impose on US products including steel, plastics and coal. A Japanese finance ministry committee approved the list of sanctions earlier on Wednesday.

The move by Japan marks the first time it has threatened to impose retaliatory tariffs against its single largest trading partner, and follows a similar threat by the European Union earlier this month to impose tariffs of $2.2bn on US goods. The threat of sanctions by both the EU and Japan come on the heels of a WTO ruling earlier this month that Washington had violated international trade rules by imposing tariffs on steel imports last March. According to WTO regulations, Japan must wait 30 days before it can impose the tariffs, after which point members of prime minister Junichiro Koizumi's cabinet will make the final decision on whether to proceed.
Source: Financial Times

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