Clinton opens fire in trade war with Japan: US to raise tariffs on Japanese cellphones
Tuesday 15 February 1994
Technically the two sides are engaged in what is politely termed 'a period of reflection', after the breakdown of talks last week on ways of opening Japan's market to American exports, and reducing its dollars 60bn ( pounds 40bn) surplus with the United States. In fact neither looks willing to give an inch, and Washington is expected to fire the first shot today, by imposing higher tariffs on Japanese cellular phones.
That would be in retaliation for Japan's failure to let the US company Motorola into its richest cellular market, the Tokyo-Osaka corridor. The Motorola case is not directly connected to the dispute which overshadowed Friday's summit between Mr Clinton and Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa. But, the President said, it was 'a good illustration' of the problems faced by US manufacturers.
Thereafter the US can choose from a range of moves under the little-used 'Super 301' trade provision permitting reprisals against 'unfair' trading practices, which Mr Clinton is likely to re-activate soon. 'There will be a series of actions,' threatened Laura D'Andrea Tyson, the head of the President's Council of Economic Advisers.
Mr Clinton insisted he was keeping his options open. But his language showed that Washington's patience with Tokyo is running out: 'They have reached a point now in their growth and wealth and strength when it is unacceptable for . . . their own consumers, as well as for the rest of us, to follow a policy radically different from every other advanced economy.' Convinced that the White House at last means business, foreign exchange markets sent the dollar plunging against the yen.
The Japanese had argued during the trade talks that the government's hands were tied over market-opening measures, since the country's economy could no longer be influenced by 'administrative guidance'. But the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) was deeply embarrassed yesterday by the exposure of a blatant attempt at just such 'guidance': the manipulation of media opinion on the effectiveness of the government's pounds 92bn economic stimulus package announced last Tuesday.
Last week Miti bureaucrats drew up a crib sheet of recommended answers to possible questions from reporters about the economic stimulus package, according to the Tokyo daily newspaper. The crib sheet was distributed to supposedly independent economic organisations, including the influential Keidanren, the Federation of Economic Organisations made up of executives from Japan's leading corporations.
It is perhaps a sign of the times that Miti's crib sheet was leaked to the press - in the past such 'administrative guidance' would have been followed without question. Hideaki Kumano, a vice-minister at Miti, was forced to apologise, saying that parts of the document were 'inappropriate' and were not meant for outside distribution.
Leading article, page 17
Yen soars, page 27
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...
£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...
£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...