The Group of Eight nations are expected to press Japan at the upcoming summit in Canada to lift its tariffs on imports from the poorest countries, government sources said Wednesday.

The United States and the European Union countries have already removed tariffs on most imports from least less-developed countries, or LLDCs, and they want Tokyo to follow suit, according to the sources.

If Japan fails to present specific programs to eliminate import duties on such items as agricultural and marine products — key export items of LLDCs — Tokyo may receive a cold shoulder at the summit, the sources said.

The leaders of Japan, the U.S., Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Russia will meet for two days beginning June 26 in Kananaskis. Aid for developing countries will be high on the agenda.

During a meeting of representatives of G8 leaders held earlier this month, most participants agreed on the need to give preferential treatment to imports from 49 LLDCs, the sources said.

In February 2000, Mike Moore, director general of the World Trade Organization, proposed preferential tariff treatment be given to the poorest countries.

In May 2000, the U.S. enacted legislation to lift tariffs on imports from 34 sub-Saharan African nations. EU countries removed most import duties in March 2001.

Japan, meanwhile, has done nothing, fearing that cheap imports from developing countries might hurt domestic industries.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.