U.S., Japan to resume trade negotiations

May 24, 1994|By New York Times News Service

WASHINGTON -- After four days of talks, American and Japanese trade experts reached a broad agreement yesterday on a new format to revive their stalled negotiations intended to open Japan's closed markets, U.S. officials said.

This morning in Tokyo, Japan's minister for International Trade & Industry, Eijiro Hata, would say only that trade framework talks could resume soon.

But Japan's foreign minister, Sadayuki Hayashi, said there would be an announcement later in the day, according to Reuters.

The framework is meant to rescue the trade negotiations the United States and Japan established last July, but which collapsed in February when the White House accused Japan of resisting serious measures to open its markets. The Japanese, in turn, accused Washington of trying to set quotas for U.S. exports to Japan.

The tentative deal involves concessions by both sides.

Essentially, the Japanese agreed to drop their opposition to quantitative and qualitative indicators that would measure whether they are indeed opening their closed markets, the officials said.

The United States agreed to forgo demanding that Japan meet any specific numerical targets for imports -- from either the United States or the world at large -- in any of the five areas covered by the accord. Those are Japanese automobiles, auto parts, insurance, medical equipment and telecommunications equipment.

The United States also agreed that it would not deem Japan in noncompliance with any future accord if Tokyo does not show progress on every numerical indicator.

"What we wanted is a framework that gives us the ability to measure results," said U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor.

"What the Japanese side wanted was assurance that they would not be held to numerical quotas for imports in any one sector. Both sides are moving toward accommodation," he said.

The United States accepted qualitative indicators that would show whether it was making an earnest effort to enter the Japanese markets.

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