Japan-US launch talks to resolve dispute over tariffs

Japanese officials confirmed that the agreement was reached at a meeting between Gina Raimondo (U.S. Commerce Secretary) and Koichi Haygiuda, Japan’s minister for economy, trade, industry.

The U.S. recently resolved a similar dispute with the European Union in a deal officials said addresses excess capacity that can distort the steel market. It remediated a transatlantic rift and was meant to provide a framework to reduce carbon-intensity in steel and aluminum production, which contributes to global warming.

Trump placed additional tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% for aluminum in March 2018, claiming that they would protect U.S. workers and national security.

Hagiuda, who was present at the meeting, stated that Japan wants to resolve the tariff issue “completely”, in accordance with the World Trade Organization, according to trade and industry ministry officials. They claimed that Japan considers U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs imposed from Japan to be “problematic”.

Raimondo said she was going to address the issue as a priority during a meeting Monday with Yoshimasa Haashi, Japan’s Foreign Minister.

The Commerce Department made a statement late last year announcing the beginning of consultations in Japan by Raimondo & United States Trade Rep Katherine Tai “to address global aluminum and steel excess capacity, implement effective measures that ensure the long-term viability our steel & aluminum industries, find solutions to our democratic alliance”

China accounts for over half of the world’s aluminum production.

Both sides issued a statement stating that they would establish the “Japan–U.S. Commercial and Industrial Partnership.”

“It is so important for both of our countries and coordination in these key areas is essential for our global economic recovery, and our ability to seize our opportunities in a post-pandemic world,” Raimondo said in opening remarks to the meeting.

She stated that “the Department of Commerce’s unwavering commitment to Japan and our desire to strengthen economic partnerships with other like-minded countries is unwavering.”

Raimondo is expected visit Malaysian and Singapore soon after Tokyo. Tai is visiting Japan for several days beginning Tuesday.

Japanese officials stated that Raimondo stressed the importance for strong Japan-U.S. relations and leadership in the Indo-Pacific. The officials also agreed that they would cooperate in addressing other challenges, like climate change.

Hagiuda stated that Japan and the United States are leaders in the global economy. They share the same values, such as free and fair economies. Therefore, it was essential to strengthen economic and technological cooperation.

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AP Business Writer Elaine Kurtenbach contributed.

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