U.S. wants car barriers removed

Kyodo

Washington on Monday urged Tokyo to remove obstacles for U.S. carmakers in the Japanese market, saying a variety of nontariff barriers have impeded their access.

“The U.S. government urges Japan to address the full range of barriers in Japan’s automotive market,” the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in its 2012 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers.

“Overall sales of U.S.-made vehicles and automotive parts in Japan remain low, which is a serious concern,” the report added.

It said there is a lack of transparency and other barriers to certifying automobiles using new technology such as fuel cells.

Additional issues include “standards and certification issues, lack of sufficient opportunities for stakeholder input in the development of standards and regulations, as well as barriers that hinder the development of distribution and service networks,” the report said.

Meanwhile, with regard to Japan Post and a bill to amend postal privatization, the report said Washington “continues to monitor carefully the Japanese government’s postal reform efforts.”

It urged Japan to ensure that all necessary measures are taken to achieve a level playing field between Japan Post and private firms in the banking, insurance and express delivery markets.

On Japan’s restrictions to beef imports from the United States, the report said that Tokyo’s plan to allow imports of beef from cattle aged 30 months or younger is an important step. Currently, Japan allows imports of U.S. beef only from cattle aged 20 months or younger due to concerns over mad cow disease.