U.S. Commerce Secretary William Daley indirectly indicated to Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura on Thursday that Japan should further open its markets and stimulate domestic demand to avoid trade frictions.

Daley was quoted by Foreign Ministry officials as telling Komura that “the two countries should make efforts to prevent the (global) financial crisis from becoming trade issues.” Daley told Komura that President Bill Clinton is determined to keep the United States’ markets open, the ministry officials said.

Daley and other top U.S. officials said earlier this month that Asia’s financial crisis could rekindle protectionist pressures in the U.S. if other countries fail to open their markets. The U.S. trade deficit is surging because of rising imports from and plunging exports to Asia.

Komura told Daley that Japan will achieve an economic recovery led by domestic demand and is making the utmost of efforts to implement economic stimulus measures.

Daley said that he feels good about Japan’s economic stimulus measures and appreciates Japan’s efforts to help other Asian economies, the ministry officials said.

As for the annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which concluded Wednesday, Daley told Komura that the member economies should have adopted a message that they should prevent the financial crisis from spawning trade disputes by promoting trade liberalization, the officials said.

Daley’s remark apparently reflects Washington’s dissatisfaction over Japan’s refusal to promote further tariff cuts on fishery and forestry products.

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