Japan warns on global rise in protectionism


AFP / Google News
May 28, 2009

TOKYO (AFP) — Japan warned of rising protectionism and unfair trade practices amid the global downturn in a report Thursday, raising concern about a recent "Buy American" plan and China’s stricter IT rules.

"Amid the serious economic crisis, protectionist moves are continuously occurring in countries around the globe that are aimed at securing jobs at home," the trade ministry said as it published the annual report.

The ministry said it would prioritise resolving moves by its top trade partners China and the United States as well as India and Russia, and listed 118 policies and measures worldwide that it said restricted free trade.

The government report pointed to the controversial "Buy American" clause and criticised China’s plan to require foreign IT companies to disclose key information for a variety of digital products.

The report also listed moves by India to levy tariffs on imports and by Russia to raise tariffs on vehicles.

Earlier this year, US President Barack Obama came under fire for including a clause that said new infrastructure projects must use American-made manufactured materials in his economic stimulus package.

The clause was later softened with a provision that procurements would have to be in line with Washington’s international free trade obligations.

"It is regrettable that the United States established such a clause of preferential procurement for national goods," the Japanese report said, adding that the ministry would closely monitor further developments.

Meanwhile, China has said its inspectors would start to examine and certify 13 types of imported IT products, including anti-hacking software, raising fears overseas Beijing would use the process to learn high-tech trade secrets.

Under pressure, China recently postponed the implementation of the rules from this month to May 2010. It also said the certification would apply only to government deals, not all commercial sales.


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