Japan lobbies WTO with EU

STAFF WRITER

Mon, May 20, 2002 - Page 21

Japan joined the EU in telling the WTO it will impose duties on US steel imports as early as next month in its first such use of retaliatory trade tariffs against the US. Japan will impose 100 percent duties of US$4.88 million on steel from the US in initial response to US President George W. Bush's decision in March to impose tariffs of up to 30 percent on steel imports, the government said. Japan says the levies will cost its companies up to US$123 million a year. The US decision has prompted criticism from the EU, South Korea, China, Switzerland and Norway. The EU is preparing similar initial retaliation, and may impose 100 percent tariffs on US products worth 378 million euros (US$347 million) from mid-June. "If you rouse the Japanese you're clearly way out in left-field," said Alan Winters, a trade expert at the UK's University of Essex. "Bush will be starting to feel he's painted himself into a corner and will wish he'd never gone there."