Senior U.S. and Japanese officials resumed talks Wednesday to break an impasse over Japan's beef and citrus import policies.
The aim on both sides was to reach a quick agreement. Absent an accord, the United States will renew its call next Wednesday for a formal international probe of Japan's beef and citrus import quotas.Clayton Yeutter, the U.S. trade representative, and Takashi Sato, Japan's agriculture minister, are heading this week's negotiations, which one official called technical and complicated.
The U.S. goal is to persuade Japan to remove its quotas on beef, oranges and orange juice, a possibility that Japan reportedly may accept in principle.
The talks, officials said, focus on three issues: the length of time to remove the import quotas, the increments by which the quotas will be liberalized, and possible Japanese measures to help Japan's beef and citrus producers to adjust to increased imports.
The United States reportedly has asked Japan to enlarge its beef import quota by 50 percent a year, but Japan is understood to have countered with a 10 percent a year increase.
Similar differences are said to exist on the speed of Japan's further opening its markets for oranges and fruit juices.
If Japan were to open its beef and citrus markets fully, U.S. export gains would be substantial, U.S. officials estimate.