• Kyodo

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China indicated Friday that it would consider countermeasures if Japan invokes an emergency curb on imports of three of its agricultural products, Japan’s vice agriculture minister said here.

Katsutoshi Matsuoka, senior vice minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said the suggestion was made by senior officials of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation during a meeting.

The Chinese side voiced absolute opposition to Japan’s move to curb imports of stone leeks, shiitake and rushes used in tatami mats, Matsuoka told a news conference after the meeting.

Tokyo decided Thursday to impose a temporary safeguard measure, permitted under the World Trade Organization and to take effect April 23, against imports of the three products as a result of their steep increase.

The government is expected to decide at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday to amend the tariff code to allow implementation of the curb for up to 200 days, through to Nov. 8.

Matsuoka was dispatched to Beijing by Tokyo for talks with Chinese trade officials over the planned import curb.

The vice minister said he and the Chinese officials agreed that the two governments should pave the way for guidelines by Japanese and Chinese farmers for stable bilateral trade.

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