Delaying a decision on whether to retaliate against U.S. steel import curbs will be possible if the United States offers further compromises over product exclusions, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Takeo Hiranuma said Tuesday.

While imposing the safeguard import curbs on an array of steel products March 20, the U.S. is working on a list of products that will be excluded from the import curbs. The U.S. is expected to complete the list by July 2.

“If the United States makes a proposal on product exclusions in a visible way, (delaying the decision) will be possible. We will decide by comprehensively analyzing the circumstances in the process of negotiating with the U.S.,” Hiranuma told a regular news conference.

Japan was originally expected to make a decision on its retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. by June 18.

On May 17, Japan notified the World Trade Organization of its intention to impose 100 percent import tariffs on certain steel imports from the U.S. beginning June 18, saying that the U.S. action violates WTO rules.

The European Union, which has been severely hit by the U.S. safeguard measures, is reportedly also prepared to delay its decision on whether to invoke retaliatory tariffs.

Hiranuma also said that Japan will keep close contact with the EU over the steel issue.

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