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Japan to Complain of U.S. Restrictions : Trade: GATT data show America is even more closed to foreign telecommunications and medical equipment.

August 29, 1994|From Associated Press

TOKYO — Japan plans to turn the tables on American negotiators by arguing that U.S. government procurement practices in two key areas are even less open to outsiders than Japan's, news reports said Sunday.

Statistics compiled by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade show the U.S. government buys even less foreign telecommunications and medical equipment than Japan does, the Japan Broadcasting Corp. said, quoting unnamed officials.

The United States, frustrated with the lack of progress in talks on improving access to Japan's lucrative government procurement market, has imposed a Sept. 30 deadline for agreement before it moves toward sanctions.

The television report said Japan planned to present the findings, which the government says "fundamentally undermine" the American position, to U.S. negotiators and urge them not to impose sanctions.

Neither Japanese nor U.S. officials were available for comment on the report.

In the past, Japanese officials have responded to U.S. accusations of unfair trading with accusations of their own, issuing reports detailing various offenses of the United States and other nations while claiming Japanese markets are open.

The statistics indicated that while Japanese government purchases of foreign telecommunications equipment were just 0.6% of the total in 1991, the corresponding figure in the United States was even lower at 0.07%, the news report said.

The foreign share of government purchases of medical equipment, meanwhile, was 38.5% in Japan and 1.5% in the United States, the report said.

The United States argues that unclear procurement procedures in Japan have kept its share of Japanese government medical equipment purchases down to 20%, even though in other markets it has a 40% to 50% market share.

The two nations have failed to reach agreement in the current talks on autos and auto parts, insurance, financial services and other products. A partial agreement on patents was signed earlier this month.

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