Japan wants the informal ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization that it will host next month to address investment rules and other topics, in addition to the main issue of farm trade.

Takeo Hiranuma, minister of economy, trade and industry, said at a news conference Friday, “We think investment rules and antidumping rules are very significant.”

The meeting will be held in Tokyo on Feb. 14 and 15.

The WTO has put off a decision on whether the issues should be discussed at its fifth ministerial meeting, scheduled for September in Mexico.

The Tokyo gathering is designed to offer ministers a chance to seek areas of compromise in a bid to allow the 144-member world trade watchdog to successfully conclude a three-year trade round launched in November 2001 in Doha, Qatar.

The ministers are expecting tough talks centering on agricultural trade in the upcoming meeting, as WTO member states have set a March 31 deadline for an accord on the framework of farm-trade liberalization commitments.

Hiranuma also said Japan wants the United States to comply swiftly with a WTO directive to amend a law allowing Washington to share antidumping duties with affected local industries.

On Thursday in Geneva, the world trade watchdog’s appellate body circulated a report ruling that the Byrd Amendment violates WTO agreements and urging the U.S. to amend the law.

The law came into effect in October 2001.

It allows antidumping tariffs collected by the U.S. government to be shared with domestic industries to help offset damages from cheap foreign imports.

Japan, along with the European Union and many others, took the U.S. law to the WTO dispute-settlement procedure.

In September, a WTO dispute-settlement panel upheld the complaints and called for the U.S. law to be terminated. But Washington soon appealed the case to the appellate body.

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