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Press Conference by Minister Seko (excerpted version)

*Note: This is a provisional translation for reference purpose only.

10:17 - 10:21 a.m.
Friday, 22nd June
Press Conference Room, METI

Question-and-Answer Session

US Import Restrictive Measures on Steel Products

Q: The US Department of Commerce has announced that they decided to exempt additional tariff application on some kinds of steel products. Still, it might be quite a small fraction of total products, but could you tell us what your thoughts are on this issue and how Japan will respond to it, while some countries are already moving toward filing complaints with the WTO?

A: As for the additional tariffs on steel products based on the Section 232, the US government has announced their decision regarding the applications for the exemption by product category.
 In particular, so far they had made public about 10,000 out of 20,000 applications for exemption, and this time they have announced that 42 were approved and 56 were dismissed out of those 10,000 applications.
 Japanese products are included among those approved, but there are very few applications whose examination results are made public. Therefore, I would like to refrain from making any predictive comments in this regard. We can estimate based on the public information that about 15,000 tons of products are subject to these exemptions, where Japanese products are estimated to account for about two-thirds, or nearly 10,000 tons. Therefore, in this sense, I believe we have not been off the mark in reiterating that most Japanese products are difficult to substitute for. At any rate, as they are a quite small fraction, we will continue to pay close attention to the status of the exemptions by product category.
 In addition, we believe that Japan should be rightfully exempted as an entire country. We will continue to work with the US while fully examining the impact of US additional tariffs on Japanese companies.

Q: As for the delays on the US side, such as only 42 or 56 out of 20,000 applications, what are your thoughts on this?

A: It might be hard work for them to handle a considerable number of applications, which is quite understandable, but these applications and approvals are made for none other than US manufacturers, so I believe that it would be better for the US themselves to proceed with them as quickly as possible. Anyway, I hope for their prompt action.

Q: You mean, for Japanese companies’ sake, too?

A: Of course for Japanese companies as well. However, as long as its products are not substitutional, it is the US steel users who finally bear the burden of additional tariffs. Prompt actions would be to the US’s benefit.

Last updated:2018-11-21