Watching US reaction to anti-US WTO ruling

(Note: Ah, the price of 'going global' -- to protect one's own sovereignty or not? Strange how both parties -- both 'sides' of the aisle in Congress seem to push the Hazel Henderson "Think Global, Act Local" mantra...)
September 2, 2004
Asia Times Online
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Tokyo, Japan - The Japanese government will likely wait to see how its American counterpart reacts to a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling allowing Japan to impose tariffs in retaliation for the US' refusal to repeal certain anti-dumping rules.

The WTO arbitration committee on Tuesday approved applications by Japan, the European Union and six other members for the imposition of retaliatory tariffs on American products.

This came as the US failed to act on the WTO's demand that the country abolish the Byrd Amendment, which allows anti-dumping tariffs slapped on imports to be distributed among sectors hit by dumping.

Following this development, Japan is now expected to coordinate with the EU and six other WTO members and complete necessary formalities, including decisions on how much duties should be imposed on what products, so that it can introduce its counter tariffs whenever it chooses.

But some Japanese officials are concerned that immediately implementing such tariffs will sour the Japan-US relationship because it would put US President George W Bush in the precarious position of having to choose between protecting domestic industry and promoting free trade with a presidential election coming up.

Because of such concerns, Tokyo will likely urge Washington to repeal the law as early as possible, and will monitor its response before imposing the retaliatory tariffs.

"Whether the Japanese government actually invokes the tariffs or not will depend on the US response, as well as the EU's action," says a senior official in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Copyright 2004, Asia Times Online