Japanese trade minister Koichi Hagiuda called upon the United States government to end Trump-era aluminium and steel tariffs during an online meeting with his American counterpart on Thursday.
Hagiuda met with United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai last week in a meeting over the Section 232 blanket tariffs on steel and aluminium that were implemented in 2018.
The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) made its request after the United States made a deal to exempt the European Union from the same tariffs last weekend. Part of the deal involved cracking down on “dirty” aluminium and steel production in exchange for allowing in quantities of the metals similar to the amounts imported prior to the tariff’s implementation.
METI’S Hiroyuki Hatada told Reuters that Japan has been petitioning for an exception for some time.
“Japan has been asking the United States since 2018 to resolve the issue of additional tariffs on Japanese steel and aluminium products, by abolishing them or other measures.”
“We will seek a resolution in a way that is consistent with WTO rules,” he continued.
However, Japan Iron and Steel Federation chair Eiji Hashimoto said the industry is worried that the United States’ deal with the European Union may result in a weakening of regulations on other states and regions, harming Japan’s competitiveness.
“The Japanese steel industry will be put behind the EU in terms of export competitiveness to the United States,” he opined.