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Japan to counter US steel tariffs

Tokyo, Nov. 26 (AFP): Japan decided on Wednesday on a list of US imports which will be subject to retaliatory sanctions if Washington fails to end special tariffs on imported steel products designed to protect the US steel industry.

The decision came as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was expected to formally adopt a ruling against the US steel tariffs on Monday.

“A panel of experts today approved the list (of products to be included in) the counter measures” against the US tariffs, said a Japanese finance ministry official. “The total value of the counter-measures amounts to about 10.7 billion yen ($98 million),” he said.

Tokyo has decided to impose additional 30 per cent tariffs on American steel products, gasoline and plastic goods, the ministry said in a statement. Additional five per cent tariffs would be imposed on clothing and leather products, among others, the finance ministry said.

Washington could avoid the punitive counter-measures if it decides to abolish the three-year tariffs of up to 30 per cent which it levied to protect ailing US steel mills and their workers.

Earlier this month the WTO ruled the US tariffs violated global trade rules. The WTO decision came after the European Union, Brazil, China, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea and Switzerland launched a complaint last year against Washington’s move.

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