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Japan and the United States will hold talks in Geneva under the dispute-settlement system of the World Trade Organization on April 10 and 11 over tariffs Washington imposed on steel imports earlier this month, government officials said Thursday.

It will be their first talks since Japan filed a complaint with the WTO over the move last week by the U.S.

Japan will demand that the Washington revoke the tariffs and will also ask the U.S. whether it is prepared to compensate for the damage to Japanese steelmakers by lowering its tariffs on other Japanese exports. , the officials said.

Tokyo will urge Washington to release a list of items to be excluded from the curbs as soon as possible. If the release is delayed, Japan plans to take retaliatory steps against U.S. exports, the officials said.

If they fail to settle the issue within 60 days, Tokyo will ask a WTO panel to decide whether the U.S. action complies with WTO accords.

President George W. Bush on March 20 started three-year emergency tariffs ranging from 8 percent to 30 percent on an array of steel imports from Japan and other countries.

Under WTO rules, member countries can take emergency import restriction measures to safeguard domestic industries struggling as a result of surges in imports.

At the same time, the WTO rules allow member countries to request monetary compensation or lower tariffs on other import items, to make up for the adverse effects the safeguard measures have on their trade.

USTR to visit Japan

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick will visit Japan on April 11 as part of his Asian tour, Japanese and U.S. officials said Wednesday.

It will be Zoellick’s first visit to Japan since the current administration was launched in January 2001.

Zoellick will hold talks with counterparts from key economic ministries, probably including Takeo Hiranuma.

Zoellick is expected to discuss issues that include emergency measures taken by Washington to restrict steel imports and promoting the new round of global trade talks under the World Trade Organization.

Earlier this month, the Bush administration slapped three-year tariffs of up to 30 percent on an array of steel imports. Japan and the European Union have filed complaints with the WTO for dispute settlement procedures.

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