Japan intends to seek a compromise on the easing of its fisheries and forestry trade barriers at next month’s meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the government’s top spokesman indicated Friday.Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said the government has virtually given up its position that lifting tariffs on fisheries and forestry products should be not by discussed until the 2000 World Trade Organization negotiations.Meanwhile, trade chief Kaoru Yosano said the government will start studying the potential impact the liberalization would have on the domestic industry, a move that may pave the way for Japan to flexibly deal with voluntary tariff cuts on marine products. In the morning, Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi discussed with Yosano and other ministers how to handle the upcoming APEC talks in Kuala Lumpur.At the APEC meetings, Japan is likely to face tough negotiations with other APEC economies over its stance against the early voluntary sectoral liberalization on marine and forestry products. Other APEC countries want the tariffs lifted at the mid-November talks. “Our official stance is that we should handle the issue on a voluntary basis in accordance with the spirit of APEC,” Yosano told reporters after the Cabinet meeting. “But to deal with compelling requests from various sides, we’ll have to examine the situation item by item. It’s not (convincing) only to say no.”
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