WASHINGTON — Japan has tried to delay the formation of an international panel to rule on a U.S. complaint against Tokyo's quotas on beef and citrus imports, U.S. Trade Representative Clayton K. Yeutter said Thursday.
Yeutter said that if Japan continued stalling, the United States would ask the director general of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade on June 15 to intervene and unilaterally appoint a panel.
"Thus far, the government of Japan has been most uncooperative in the establishment of a GATT panel," the chief U.S. trade negotiator told a press conference. "We find this untolerable."
In the first step toward ruling on the legality of Tokyo's quotas on imports of beef and citrus, the world trade body earlier this month set up a special panel to review the restrictions. Japan agreed to the move after vetoing a U.S. request for a panel in April.
'Distressed by Situation'
But Yeutter said that in recent weeks Japan had used "stalling and blocking efforts," first asking for three separate panels to handle beef, oranges and orange juice, then trying to attach conditions to the formation of a single panel.
"We are distressed by the present situation, both in terms of the bilateral negotiations, which have been fruitless thus far, and in terms of the GATT process, which is also moving inadequately at the moment because of stalling and blocking efforts on the part of the government of Japan," Yeutter said.