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Major Japanese steel manufacturers told trade chief Kaoru Yosano on Friday that their industry will keep tabs on the increasing volume of exports to the United States in an effort to avert possible trade conflicts, according to officials of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

The remark came in response to Thursday’s meeting between Yosano and U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky, in which she expressed concern over surging Japanese steel exports to the U.S., calling it one of the causes of a massive trade deficit with Japan.

Yosano reassured the Japan Iron and Steel Federation that the government will effectively implement measures to stimulate domestic demand toward the end of the year, saying that steel exports to the U.S. subsequently will decline.

The minister noted, however, that increasing steel exports to the U.S., which amounted to 2 million tons in the first half of this year — twice the level of the same period last year — was heavily attributable to strong demand from the U.S.

The steel manufacturers urged Yosano to display strong initiative in boosting domestic demand, supporting the industry’s effort to combat global warming, reducing power rates and cutting housing and other taxes. Yosano promised to do his utmost to meet the demands.

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