U.S. Wants Greater Market Access To Japan

Beef and automobiles are among the markets Japan should make more accessible to U.S. firms, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (Kyodo) -- Beef and automobiles are among the markets Japan should make more accessible to U.S. firms, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday.

Testifying at a subcommittee of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Joseph Donovan, principal deputy assistant secretary of state, also called on Japan to give U.S. competitors an equal footing with Japanese counterparts in the insurance and finance sectors, citing Japan Post as a market player with an unfair advantage

In a prepared testimony to the House panel, Donovan said Tokyo should adopt a standard for beef imports based on science and international norms.

He also urged Japan to foster a business environment that welcomes foreign investment, through policy or statements.

Japan and the United States are at loggerheads over Washington's insistence that Tokyo abolish all of its limits on U.S. beef imports for meat coming from cattle aged 20 or younger.

Japan suspended all beef imports from the United States after the first U.S. case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease, was found in 2003.

It later partially reopened the market with certain restrictions, including the 20-month age limit.

The United States has argued that American beef has been scientifically proven safe for consumption.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is expected to ask Japan to fully reopen its beef market when he visits the country in early April.

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