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The government said Friday it will slap a 15 percent retaliatory levy on U.S. ball bearing and other steel products from Sept. 1 to counter a U.S. antidumping law that violates global trade rules.

The Cabinet approved a new ordinance to invoke the measures, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Shoichi Nakagawa said.

The trade minister denied there would be any significantly adverse effects on Japan-U.S. ties, reckoning Washington will see that Tokyo is simply following a decision from the World Trade Organization.

“The USTR (U.S. Trade Representative) has indicated that the United States needs to follow the WTO decision,” Nakagawa said at a news conference, adding that the government’s action comes after similar measures were taken by the European Union and Canada.

In the first such measure Japan has ever taken against any trading partner, it will slap countervailing tariffs on 15 product items from the United States, including seven types of ball bearings and three types of other steel products, government officials said.

The retaliatory measure will effectively reduce the value of Japanese imports of the 15 U.S. products by about 5.6 billion, yen they said.

The U.S. law, called the Byrd Amendment, allows antidumping duties collected by the U.S. government to be shared with domestic industries to help offset damage from cheap imports.

U.S. President George W. Bush has signaled a willingness to review the law, but Congress has been reluctant.

Although Tokyo had said it would not impose the tariffs if the amendment were repealed, the U.S. reaction has been slow and it became unlikely for any corrective action to be taken by the September deadline, according to government officials.

They said the levies will remain in place until the U.S. legislation is scrapped.

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