Japan says hopes U.S. package in line with trade rules

“We will keep a close eye on the final outcome of the bill,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura, the Japanese government’s top spokesman.

The U.S. House Democratic leader said on Wednesday that congressional negotiators had agreed to a softer line on “Buy American” provisions in the bill, to address concerns of some U.S. trade partners.

That is in line with a decision by the U.S. Senate last week to weaken a provision that had required all public works projects funded by the stimulus package to use only U.S.-made iron, steel and other manufactured goods.

The amendment required the provisions be applied “in a manner consistent with U.S. obligations under international agreements.”

Japan’s Kawamura welcomed the amendment, but said he hoped the final decision by Washington would make sure the Buy American provisions were implemented in line with WTO rules.

Some Japanese officials have worried about the exact meaning of the phrase “international agreements.”

The United States has made commitments under the WTO to provide trading partners like Japan with access to government procurement contracts.

But other countries that do not have such procurement deals with the United States would not get increased access. Among those countries are China, India, Brazil and Russia.

“At cartoon porn this stage, we have to be concerned that the whole process leading up to this bill appeared to be rooted in protectionism,” Kawamura told a news conference,uk politics.

“The countries covered by the WTO rules may be limited. So in any case, the world must not resort to protectionism.”

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