Japan Report Claims Unfair Trade Practices

Japan Report Claims Unfair Trade Practices

A new Japanese government report is charging the country suffers from unfair practices by its trading partners, including 38 policies and measures taken by the United States.

Although the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry report notes “the spread of protectionism after the global economic crisis is suppressed,” it raises concerns about “the increase of preferential measures to domestic production or products for temporarily securing employment and promoting strategic industry.”

The METI report names China as second behind the United States in unfair trade practices and points to the dispute last year over rare earth minerals, key ingredients in electronics manufacturing. Japanese officials said China suspended exports of rare earths to Japan last year during a dispute over jurisdiction over an area of the East China Sea.

The report, an annual assessment of the global trading conditions, points to “measures influenced by growing interest in rare mineral resources and renewable energy” and “measures adopting original national standards or practices instead of international standards or global practices, which resulted in imposing excessive regulation in the light of its objective.”

The 2011 Report on Compliance by Major Trading Partners with Trade Agreements listed a total of 131 policies and measures taken by 14 countries and regions, of which nine policies and measures were newly listed.

Of the 131 policies and measures, the largest number — 38 — have been in place in the U.S., followed by 26 in China, 25 in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), 14 in the EU. The remaining 28 policies and measures are in place in other countries and regions.

METI has released the Report on Compliance by Major Trading Partners with Trade Agreements since 1992. The U.S. and the 27-nation European Union also publish the same kind of reports every year.

METI said it has selected 14 priority issues from among the 131 policies and measures.

Among the 14 priority issues is a U.S. anti-dumping methodology called “zeroing.” The Japanese bearing industry has paid about $12.3 million “undue” anti-dumping duties every year, the report said. “METI urges prompt implementation of proposed modification of the U.S. AD methodology,” the report said.

Among the 14 priority issues are also China’s export restrictions on raw materials and unfavorable treatment towards foreign exports in government procurements, including the National Indigenous Innovation Product Accreditation System.