Keep firm pressure on trade promises, ACCJ tells U.S.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan urged Washington to stand firm and keep the pressure on the Japanese government to fulfill its commitment to bilateral trade agreements.In a report released Jan. 13 the chamber says, however, that sanctions should be used only when the cause is just and the willingness and ability to use such measures is strong, calling on the U.S. government not to “squander credibility by needless rhetoric.” The 188-page report, titled “Making Trade Talks Work: Lessons from Recent History,” summarizes and evaluates 45 major trade agreements reached between Japan and the United States from 1980 to 1996.During a news conference announcing the release of the report, ACCJ President Bill Beagles said, “For many years, the American view was that a trade agreement with Japan spoke for itself. … However, the U.S. government and American industry came to realize that this is not the case. “An apparently successful negotiation may not necessarily produce the expected market-opening results in Japan,” he said.Ten agreements, including the 1994 Insurance Agreement and the 1992 Paper Products Agreement, have been categorized “unsuccessful,” while 31 have been termed “successful” or “marginally successful.” The remaining four, such as the 1996 Semiconductor Agreement and the 1992 Structural Impediments Initiative, have been given no grades.