WASHINGTON — The United States and Japan reached agreement today on removing various barriers to the sale of American forest products in Japan, U.S. officials announced.
The conclusion of the negotiations on forest products clears up the final case cited by the Bush Administration a year ago when it placed Japan on a trade "hit list" of the countries with the most offensive barriers to sales of American products.
U.S. Trade Representative Carla Anderson Hills said U.S. and Japanese negotiators resolved the wood products dispute after lengthy discussions in Tokyo.
She said the agreement could increase the sale of U.S. wood products in Japan by as much as $1 billion annually by lowering tariffs and revising Japanese building code standards.
The announcement of the successful completion of talks on wood products came as the Bush Administration is facing an April 30 deadline for deciding whether to target Japan for a second year in a row as an unfair trader under a tough section of the 1988 trade law known as Super 301.
Hills said the Administration has not made a final decision on the issue, but she gave strong indications in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee today that Japan will not be targeted.