The Ministry of International Trade and Industry on Friday released a list of eight “major concerns” with big trade partners that will affect MITI’s future trade policies.
The eight items are taken from more than 100 policies and measures by foreign governments mentioned in the 1998 Report on the WTO Consistency of Trade Policies by Major Trading Partners submitted earlier in the day by a subcommittee under the Industrial Structure Council, an advisory body to the MITI chief.
The annual report, the seventh in a series, examines the trade policies and measures of Japan’s 12 major trading partners: the U.S., the European Union, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines and India.
It also contains an analysis of ongoing regional integration taking place in the EU and with the North American Free Trade Agreement, in terms of consistency with the rules under the World Trade Organization.
MITI’s list highlights eight specific items that span 10 countries and regions and are subject to major concerns because of their effect on Japan’s trade interests. For example, MITI said it is concerned about U.S. trade policies in four areas: antidumping measures, a Massachusetts state law that bars companies dealing with Myanmar from state contracts, policies concerning intellectual property rights, and the Helms Burton Act.
On U.S. antidumping measures, MITI points to procurement of Japanese supercomputers by the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. Noting the U.S. government took an “anomalous action” by sending letters alleging Japanese dumping prior to the start of a formal investigation into the case, MITI said Japan will continue to urge Washington to “explain the factual circumstances” and “seek assurances that such irregularities will not be repeated.”
Regarding the Massachusetts law, which MITI believes to be inconsistent with the government procurement agreement under the WTO, Japan will continue to call on the U.S. to bring such a measure into conformity with the WTO rules, the ministry said.
The MITI list also describes EU anticircumvention measures, like those of the U.S., as having no WTO basis and serving only to impede legitimate trade and investment activities.
Some countries try to “circumvent” dumping duties by moving production to a third country or by slightly modifying the product. Japan will pursue problems related to anticircumvention measures in informal discussions under the WTO and strive to ensure that anticircumvention activities barred by WTO rules not be implemented.
Calling attention to the prevalence in other parts of Asia of counterfeit and imitation Japanese goods, MITI is calling on seven Asian trade partners — South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and India — to reinforce efforts to protect property rights.
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