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Tokyo plans to hold director-level talks with Beijing over a bilateral trade row centering on tit-for-tat import curbs, a top Japanese trade official said Thursday.

Katsusada Hirose, vice minister of economy, trade and industry, told a news conference that Beijing agreed Wednesday to Tokyo’s proposal to hold bilateral talks and that the two countries are currently coordinating a date and venue for the showdown. The Chinese proposal differs from Tokyo’s wish to separate bilateral talks on the Chinese import measure from ongoing talks regarding Japan’s initial curbs.

But Tokyo is content that Beijing has at least recognized that there are two issues at stake, Hirose said.

During the proposed talks, Japan will state that its 200-day import curbs on stone leeks, fresh shiitake mushrooms and rushes used to make tatami mats meet international trade rules under the World Trade Organization, Hirose said.

Tokyo imposed the curbs on April 23 in an effort to protect domestic producers of the goods. Although Tokyo claims the temporary curbs do not target China, Japan’s imports of the products mainly come from China.

China retaliated by imposing special duties on automobiles, mobile phones and air conditioners exported by Japan to China.

Tokyo claims that China’s move to target Japanese exports in this manner violates a bilateral trade agreement and WTO trade regulations.

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