TOKYO, July 24 Japan has sent a letter of
concern to the United States on a bill recently passed in the
U.S. House of Representatives, which contains a provision
similar to "Buy American", an official at Japan's foreign
The letter, sent earlier this week from Japan to U.S. Trade
Representative Ron Kirk, comes as the United States says the
"Buy American" provisions are in line with World Trade
Organisation commitments. [ID:nSP225182]
In the letter, Japan's ambassador to the United States,
Ichiro Fujisaki, expressed worries on a provision in the
appropriations bill for energy and water development that said
funds should not be used to buy cars other than those made by
the Big Three, the official said.
The Big Three refers to troubled U.S. automakers Ford Motor
Co (F.N), General Motors [GM.UL] and Chrysler [CCMLPC.UL].
"If it limits it to just the three, this violates the World
Trade Organisation's fundamental principle of
non-discrimination," said the official, who declined to give
"Taking into consideration the flow from the previous
stimulus package, we are concerned that there will be more
moves to promote purchasing of American products."
"Buy American" provisions in the U.S. stimulus bill
generally require public works projects funded by the bill to
use only U.S.-made steel, iron and other manufactured goods.
Earlier this month, the WTO head said governments are
unfairly blocking trade in response to the global downturn,
pinching auto and steel exports and hurting wealthy economies
Kirk told reporters earlier this week at an Asia-Pacific
Economic Cooperation meeting that the "Buy American" campaign
will not violate WTO commitments.
At the meeting, 21 countries including the United States
and Japan had agreed to shun protectionist measures, saying it
would be a setback for the global economy.
The appropriations bill will now go on to be voted in the
U.S. Senate. In the letter, Fujisaki asked Kirk to approach the
Senate to exclude the provision from the bill, the official
(Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Sugita Katyal)