• Kyodo

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Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner agreed Friday that preventing protectionism in global trade is necessary amid a worldwide recession and confirmed close cooperation between their countries to help stabilize the world economy.

After meeting with Geithner in Rome, Nakagawa said he told his U.S. counterpart that not only Japan but also other countries are worried about a proposed “Buy American” provision in Washington’s economic stimulus bill.

The provision would require U.S. companies to use domestically produced steel and manufactured products in infrastructure projects funded by the bill.

Geithner said the United States will comply with international trade rules under the World Trade Organization so as not to stir up fears among U.S. trading partners, Nakagawa told reporters.

Nakagawa told Geithner the United States should not make such a “protectionist-like move,” and Geithner expressed his understanding, Nakagawa said.

The two also agreed to “give each other advice while maintaining close contact,” Nakagawa said, adding Geithner had a firsthand look at Japan’s experience in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Geithner joined the International Affairs division of the Treasury Department as an assistant financial attache for the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo in 1988.

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