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Japan, U.S., EU agree on WTO talks on subsidy rules

  • May 24, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 2:54 a.m.
  • English Press
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Paris, May 23 (Jiji Press) — Japan, the United States and the European Union on Thursday agreed to hold talks among key World Trade Organization members to fight market distortions by strengthening industrial subsidy rules.

The agreement was reached at a meeting in Paris of Japanese trade minister Hiroshige Seko, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem.

The three officials adopted a joint statement on the outcome of their discussions. The agreement apparently had in mind China’s industrial subsidies.

“A strong commitment made concertedly by Japan, the United States and Europe will be a major starting point for WTO reform,” Seko told reporters after the meeting.

The three officials also confirmed that their countries will work together to create a framework for the management of e-commerce data trading in cooperation with as many WTO members as possible.

The trio agreed to jointly promote WTO reform toward a Group of 20 ministerial meeting on trade and digital economy to be held in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, in June. Japan holds this year’s G-20 presidency.

Ahead of the three-way meeting, Seko held bilateral talks with Lighthizer. The Japanese minister expressed concerns about possible U.S. import restrictions on automobiles and auto parts that Washington are considering.

“I told him that such imports from Japan have never damaged U.S. national security nor will do so in the future,” Seko told reporters.

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