Tokyo will tell the World Trade Organization on Friday that it intends to levy retaliatory tariffs on U.S. steel imports worth $4.88 million, according to an official of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Tokyo intends to put the retaliatory curbs into effect on June 18, the official said. The United States’ steel curbs were introduced March 20.
The plan was announced after a telephone conference between trade minister Takeo Hiranuma and United States Trade Representative Robert Zoellick earlier in the day failed to resolve the dispute. Hiranuma and Zoellick agreed to continue negotiating, however, and any action taken by Tokyo depends on the outcome of those talks, the official said.
The action would constitute Japan’s first retaliatory trade maneuver.
Japan plans to impose 100 percent tariffs on steel and steel products for an initial year as a means of “re-balancing” import tariffs between the two countries.
The retaliatory tariff will cover the cost of the curbs being imposed on Japanese steel plate.
Japan claims that imports of steel plates to the U.S. have declined and that the U.S. action clearly violates WTO regulations.
Tokyo’s action on Friday will be aimed at preserving its right to impose re-balancing tariffs under WTO rules, according to the ministry.
Japan will also tell the WTO that it may impose re-balancing tariffs worth $123.43 million if a WTO dispute-settlement panel in the future determines that the U.S. curbs violate WTO rules.
While Japan has launched procedures under the dispute-settlement mechanism of the WTO, a ruling is expected to take around two years.
Japan will ask the WTO to set up a dispute settlement panel over the steel issue after May 20, when it is entitled to do so, according to the official.
Later Thursday, the Council on Customs, Tariff, Foreign Exchange and Other Transactions approved the move to impose retaliatory tariffs against the U.S.
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