• Kyodo

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The World Trade Organization is expected to set up a dispute-settlement panel later this month to handle wrangling between Japan and the United States over antidumping tariffs imposed by the U.S. on Japanese surface-treated steel imports, trade sources said Wednesday.

The panel, which will exercise adjudicating power, will examine Japan’s claim that the U.S. is keeping antidumping tariffs in place beyond WTO-mandated guidelines without justification.

Japan says the U.S. decision, issued in November 2000, to maintain antidumping tariffs on surface-treated steel sheets, used primarily in car bodies, for more than five years violates the sunset provisions in WTO antidumping rules.

Trade sources said the Japanese government has decided to call for a dispute panel at a meeting of the WTO dispute settlement body scheduled for May 22.

Japan has already made a similar request, which means the WTO will be required to comply with the Japanese move under WTO rules.

Meanwhile, the U.S., which has complained to the WTO about Japan’s quarantine policy for imports of U.S.-grown apples, is expected to request at the same meeting that the WTO dispute settlement body set up a separate panel to look into the dispute.

The U.S. complains the strict Japanese quarantine policy on fire blight in imported apples is intended to curb imports.

The steel antidumping tariffs and the apple quarantine are just two of a host of Japanese-U.S. trade disputes that have gone to the WTO for adjudication.

Tokyo and Washington are also at loggerheads over emergency import tariffs on steel products the U.S. imposed March 22 and a U.S. antidumping law known as the Byrd Amendment.

The Byrd Amendment, passed in October 2000, allows Washington to compensate domestic manufacturers hurt by foreign competition by passing duties imposed on the basis of dumping allegations. Tokyo says the law violates WTO provisions.

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