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The chairman of the Iron and Steel Federation of Japan said Thursday the industry will take steps toward a complaint with the World Trade Organization if Washington imposes sanctions and unilateral restrictions in its steel imports.

Akira Chihaya said during a speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan that the industry is ready to press Tokyo into filing the complaint with the global watchdog.

He said that the U.S. steel industry has not been hurt by increased imports of Japanese steel, adding that the shipments were in line with boosted demand, citing “the longer than expected strike” at General Motors last summer as a reason for the decline in domestic steel demand and price drops in the U.S.

The federation is cooperating with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission in their antidumping investigations in response to complaints from the U.S. steel industry, Chihaya said. He added that his industry will urge Tokyo to file a complaint with the WTO if Washington resorts to measures such as “Super 301” that violate WTO rules.

“Given our goal of mutual prosperity, the U.S. steel industry unfortunately seems to be going in the wrong direction,” Chihaya said. “Unilateral import restrictions not only violate WTO rules but also undermine the competitiveness of the U.S. steel mills in the long term,” he said.

Regarding the domestic situation, Chihaya said the steel and iron industry is in a state of overcapacity, and cutting back and consolidation are inevitable.

Toward that end, Chihaya said the federation’s exclusive committee will submit proposals to better tackle problems in taxation, commercial law and employment to the government by the end of the month. “Although the potential growth ability of the Japanese economy stands at around 2.5 percent in terms of gross domestic product, such a growth rate is about to deteriorate,” he said.

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