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Japan Opens Construction Market a Bit

February 18, 1988|From Times Wire Services

TOKYO — Japan, under pressure from the United States to open its public construction market, Wednesday offered to allow limited U.S. participation in six public works projects but American negotiators were not satisfied.

"I do not think we are much closer to a positive outcome than we were in early August (when intensive negotiations began)," said the U.S. official, who declined to be identified.

In the first of three days of negotiations planned here, Japanese officials unveiled new proposals that the U.S. official said would effectively shut American firms out of the areas where they are most competitive.

Japan said that it would count the overseas experience of foreign construction companies in deciding who gets contracts in government-funded construction projects here.

But, in a new development, Tokyo said that certain portions of these projects would not qualify for this treatment, the U.S. official said.

The Japanese government offered to accept U.S. bids on certain portions of six projects, including expanding an inner-city Tokyo airport, the Hiroshima airport and two highway projects, the Foreign Ministry said.

American negotiators, who were asking for access to all public projects, said limits the Japanese government placed on the projects excludes American companies from the areas in which they have the most expertise.

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