Japan to slap tariffs on US steel

Tokyo, August 1:

Japan will slap 15 per cent levies on US steel from September 1 in retaliation for American duties imposed on Japanese products, a trade ministry official said today. The tariffs could run to a maximum of $51 million, said trade ministry official Etsuo Sato. Japan has demanded the repeal of duties imposed by the United States on Japanese steel products under the so-called Byrd amendment, an antidumping law ruled illegal by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Japan imports secondary steel products, such as ball bearings, from the US and other countries. Washington placed tariffs on hot-rolled steel from Japan, Brazil and other nations starting in 1999 on allegations that those countries were selling their products at unfairly low prices. Passed in October 2000, the Byrd amendment — named after West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd — imposed such penalty tariffs and also awarded American companies the revenue collected by the US government on those duties. The WTO ruled in January 2003 that the US measure unlawfully protected the American steel industry. When it was not repealed by the end of that year, Japan, the European Union (EU) and six other countries won the right to impose a total of $150 million in economic sanctions against the US. Japanese officials have said that they have the right to take countermeasures after repeatedly urging American officials to repeal the duties.

Thai-Japan FTA plan

BANGKOK: Thailand and Japan have agreed to forge a free-trade agreement and expect to sign the deal next April unless disagr-eements arise over details, the head of the Thai negotiation team said. The agreement aims to reduce tariffs on $35 billion worth of trade between the two countries. Japan is Thailand’s single biggest trading partner. — AP