‘Sub­dued’ Japan hits back at tar­iffs

The Star Late Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT -

JAPAN is con­sid­er­ing tar­iffs on US ex­ports worth $409 mil­lion in re­tal­i­a­tion against steel and alu­minium im­port tar­iffs im­posed by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Such a move would sig­nal Tokyo is ready to go be­yond back-door talks and pleas for ex­emp­tions from the US du­ties.

Japan is the only ma­jor US ally that did not re­ceive ex­emp­tions from Trump’s tar­iff de­ci­sion. But it has re­frained from fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of China and the EU, which re­sponded to the US de­ci­sion with re­cip­ro­cal threats.

That may change as months of ne­go­ti­a­tions have failed to con­vince Washington to add Japan to a list of coun­tries ex­empted from the US tar­iffs, an­a­lysts say.

Tokyo’s planned re­tal­ia­tory tar­iffs on US ex­ports would be the equiv­a­lent value to du­ties im­posed by Washington via its tar­iffs, pub­lic broad­caster NHK said yes­ter­day.

The govern­ment is pre­par­ing to no­tify the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion of the plan this week, a nec­es­sary pro­ce­dure un­der global trade rules.

An­a­lysts see such a threat as more of a ne­go­ti­at­ing tac­tic to im­prove the chances of get­ting a US ex­emp­tion, though it would be a notable shift from Tokyo’s fairly sub­dued tone.

“This would be a half-step for­ward since, up till now, Japan was just mak­ing re­quests to the US for an ex­emp­tion,” said Ju­nichi Su­gawara, an an­a­lyst at the Mizuho Re­search In­sti­tute. – Reuters

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