• Short Summary

    Japan has pledged a series of far-reaching economic measures intended to slash its huge trade surpluses.

  • Description

    GV Robert Strauss entering conference room in Tokyo.

    GV PAN FROM Reporters TO Japanese and US delegates seated around table.

    SCU Nobuhiko Ushiba, Japanese Minister for External Economic Affairs, seated at table.

    GV & SV Delegates seated round table talking. (4 shots)

    In recent months, Japan has been under strong pressure from Washington to curb its global trade surplus, and to reduce its burgeoning surplus with the United States, estimated by American officials at eight billion dollars for 1977, compared with 5.4 billion in 1976. Wednesday's communique said Japan also agreed to boost its annual high quality beef quota for the next fiscal year by 10,000 tonnes; to treble its quota for oranges from 15,000 tonnes to 45,000 tonnes; and to raise the quota for citrus juices from 1,000 to 4,000 tonnes. Japan's beef imports for the current year included only 1,000 tonnes of hotel-grade beef, almost all of which came from the United States. Mr. Strauss said Japan and the United Stated had really re-defined their economic relationship -- a change in direction and philosophy. Other measures in the joint communique included sending several Japanese purchasing missions to the United States; simpler import inspection laws in Japan; more import credits, and increased chances for foreign companies to obtain government contracts.

    Initials VS 21.00

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Japan has pledged a series of far-reaching economic measures intended to slash its huge trade surpluses. United States Special Trade Representative Robert Strauss, speaking in Tokyo on Friday (13 January), said the moves would re-define the United States-Japanese economic relationship. In a joint communique issued after two days of talks, it was announced that, in the next financial year, Japan would greatly reduce its current trade surplus.

    SYNOPSIS: In the financial year ending in March, Japan's current account surplus is expected to top 10 billion dollars. This was one of the things Mr. Strauss wanted to discuss. The surplus had been the target for strong criticism in the United States.

    Leading the Japanese delegation was External Economic Affairs Minister Nobuhiko Ushiba, and Mr. Strauss also had talks with Agriculture Minister Ichiro Nakagawa and Finance Minister Tatsuo Murayama. The communique said that, in April, Japan would cut tariffs on imports worth two billion dollars, and that Japan would remove quota controls on 12 products, and set up a new foreign exchange control system under which all transactions would be free, unless specifically prohibited.

    Mr. Strauss summed up by saying both sides had reached a much more significant agreement than he had originally anticipated.

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