Japanese Gov't Report Criticizes US Protectionist Trade Policy

- Jun 20, 2018-

TOKYO -- The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in its annual trade report on Monday took aim at the protectionist trade policies implemented by the administration of US President Donald Trump.

The report criticized protectionist moves to address trade deficits and warned that such unilateral measures against a particular country would result in a negative impact and for Japan's part it would endeavor to resolve trade disputes based on international rules.

The trade ministry said in its report that the international rules set by the World Trade Organization (WTO) particularly would be invoked when dealing with trade issues.

Japan had believed that as an ally of the United States, it would have been exempted form the higher US trade tariffs imposed on steel and aluminum imports, but despite Tokyo's lobbying, the tariffs were made applicable to Japan as well as other US trade partners citing the need to protect its national security.

Observers of the matter here, however, said that such protectionist moves and reasoning by Trump is a part of his "America First" pledge to appease his base supporters, rather than trade policy founded in economic acumen.

Based on Washington's trade tariff hikes and heightening rhetoric pushing it closer to a trade war with some of its biggest global trading partners, Japan's trade ministry warned that the negative impact of such could have global ramifications.

"It should be noted that the negative impact will spread globally from turning to restrictive trade policy to correct economic imbalances and taking one retaliatory measure after another," the ministry's report said.

"In a certain developed country, a swing back to steps based on result-oriented criteria has been emerging," said the report, with loosely-veiled reference to Trump's protectionist trade policy.

It intimated that with such a protectionist stance, a country can subjectively judge another country's trade policy and measures as in some way being unfair from the viewpoint of just the results it deems as being disadvantageous.


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