The government of Japan sent a letter of concern to the United States concerning the Buy American provision included in an appropriations bill recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, an anonymous official in the Japanese Foreign Ministry told Reuters.
In the letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Japan's Ambassador to the United States, Ichiro Fujisaki, expressed concern about a provision in the House appropriations bill for energy and water development that said funds should not be used to buy cars other than those manufactured by Ford, GM or Chrysler, the so-called 'Big Three' U.S. manufacturers. The U.S. Senate will soon vote on the bill.
In the letter, Ambassador Fujisaki asked USTR Kirk to urge the Senate to exclude that provision from the appropriations bill, the official said.
Buy American provisions in the U.S. stimulus bill generally require public works projects funded by the bill to use only U.S.-made steel, iron and other manufactured goods. The letter suggests that such a provision would violate the WTO's 'fundamental principle of non-discrimination.' Both the U.S. and Japan are parties to the WTO's Agreement on Government Procurement, which went into effect in 1996.
Earlier this week, USTR Kirk told reporters at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting that any such Buy American initiatives will not violate U.S. commitments to the World Trade Organization.
Contact Alan M. Field at firstname.lastname@example.org.