CHINA, U.S. REACH
Agreement covers 10 areas including agricultural trade, financial services
THE United States reached an agreement for China to provide greater access to US natural gas exporters as part of a broader effort to begin reshaping the trade relationship between the world’s two largest economies, said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
The agreement covers 10 areas where trade negotiators from the US and China have reached consensus, including agricultural trade and market access for financial services.
By mid-July, US beef producers will have broader access to Chinese markets, while America will move forward on allowing the import of cooked poultry from China, according to a joint statement announcing the deal.
Ross said officials from Dow Chemical Co gave assurances that increasing exports of natural gas wouldn’t harm the US industry or consumers if sales remained less than 30 per cent of total output.
He said a similar deal for coal exports to China wasn’t likely, such companies have been dubbed “black” companies in the media.
Public outrage over long working hours and the suicide of a young worker at Dentsu in 2015, later ruled by the government as karoshi, have pushed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to make labour reform a key policy plank.
The labour ministry’s list includes 334 companies that have received warnings for excessive overtime and other labour violations between last October and March.
However, not all companies under investigation were publicised or included in the list, said a labour ministry official.
The nationwide list will be updated every month.
Abe’s government in March endorsed an action plan for sweeping reforms of employment practices, including caps on overtime and better pay for part-time and contract workers.
The proposals, which may come into effect from 2019, will only add to strains already felt by firms grappling with a deepening labour shortage due to a rapidly ageing population.
That said, more pressure to boost productivity is seen as long overdue and could boost growth in the long term.
Lawyers and activists, however, have said the steps the government has so far proposed do not go far enough.
A spokesman for Dentsu declined to comment, and Japan Post could not be immediately reached for comment. A Panasonic spokesman said the company took the labour violation case seriously and that it would work to prevent such future cases. Reuters
Public outrage over long working hours and the suicide of a young worker at Dentsu in 2015 has prompted Japan to crack down on illegal overwork.