US wants Japan to change beef safeguard, auto regulations

TOKYO, Jan. 27 — Japanese and U.S. officials have met in Tokyo to identify trade issues relevant to the two countries, ahead of a third round of Japan-U.S. Economic Dialogue to be held in spring.

During the bilateral talks that ended on Jan. 26, Washington’s demands echoed what President Donald Trump has been preaching — lowering the U.S. trade deficit with Japan.

Washington demanded Tokyo change requirements in its safeguard mechanism for frozen U.S. beef imports to avoid triggering a raise in tariffs.

Under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, Japan has the right to invoke the safeguard to restrict frozen beef imports temporarily when the imports rise more than 17% year-on-year in any given quarter.

Last August, Japan raised tariffs on U.S. frozen beef imports. The measure is set to be in place until the end of March.

For the year starting April 1, Japan will maintain the current safeguard mechanism in the event of a sharp rise in beef imports.

Washington also asked Japan to eliminate a 30-month cattle age restriction along with others related to U.S. cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as “mad cow disease”.

In addition, Washington demanded from Tokyo increased access to the Japanese auto and auto parts markets by Japan relaxing its safety regulations.

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