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U.S. Accuses 44 Nations of Unfair Trade : Policy: Clinton Administration's report targets Japan as the biggest offender.

April 01, 1993|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Clinton Administration on Wednesday accused 44 countries of erecting unfair trade practices that rob American companies of foreign sales.

Japan was singled out as the biggest perpetrator of barriers to competition, followed by the 12-nation European Community, in a report prepared by the office of U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor.

The report, the eighth annual edition, is the first step in a process that could lead to trade sanctions if negotiations fail to correct alleged infractions.

Japan's alleged barriers took up 28 pages in the report, a 47% increase from last year's document. Alleged barriers by the European Community covered 16 pages, down from 17 pages in last year's report.

President Clinton, when he was campaigning for President last year, accused the Bush Administration of failing to aggressively challenge countries to remove barriers that keep American companies from making sales.

In a statement with Wednesday's report, Kantor pledged that the new Administration would use the information contained in this annual review to dismantle trade barriers that are robbing U.S. companies of sales.

"This report will facilitate the achievement of the Administration's overall trade policy objective, which is to expand trade through market opening measures backed by rigorous enforcement of U.S. laws," Kantor said.

Kantor said that in addition to hard-nosed negotiations, the Administration will also seek to push forward with completion of the Uruguay Round of trade talks as a way to remove barriers. Those talks, named for the country where they began in 1986, seek to dismantle a number of barriers to trade and investment.

"We believe that the markets of our trading partners should be comparably open to those in the United States," Kantor said.

The 275-page report targets a number of foreign trade practices, ranging from general import barriers and discriminatory government procurement policies to the use of standard-setting to keep foreign goods out of a country. The report also lists countries that it alleges are failing to protect American copyrights and patents.

The Administration has until the end of April to select from Wednesday's list a priority group of nations for intensive negotiations aimed at correcting alleged violations of U.S. copyright and patent protections.

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