Vice Trade Minister Katsusada Hirose on Thursday repeated concerns that a recent chain of antidumping complaints filed by the U.S. steel industry against steel imports from Japan and other nations may impede development of sound trade practices.

Hirose made the comments in response to the U.S. Commerce Department’s preliminary ruling Tuesday that cold-rolled steel imports from Japan and six other countries are being sold below fair market value in the U.S.

A total of 11 Japanese steel items are now subject to U.S. antidumping suits, and the U.S. government has issued final rulings against four of them, a trend Hirose finds alarming.

“(The U.S. industry) has filed a complaint against the 11 steel items, and (the administration) has made a ruling one after another (in favor of the antidumping complaint). We are concerned that such moves may become the cause of obstruction for sound trade development,” Hirose told Thursday’s regular press conference.

Hirose encouraged the Japanese steel industry to justify how Japanese exports have not materially injured U.S. industry, before the U.S. commerce department makes its final ruling next January.

Last month, the Japanese government called the antidumping actions “beyond endurance” and went to the World Trade Organization to file a complaint with the Geneva-based trade watchdog over Washington’s decision in June to impose antidumping duties on Japanese hot-rolled steel imports.

In a related move, officials from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will meet today at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris to hold the first bilateral working-level meeting on steel.

During the meeting, proposed by Washington in an effort to appease the U.S. steel industry’s anger over dumping, both sides are expected to exchange opinions on steel trade trends, industrial steel policy and problems concerning the steel industry worldwide, a MITI official said.

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