Japan-U.S. Trade Negotiation Framework
This is the negotiation framework established during the Japan-U.S. summit talks in May 1993. The objective is deregulating the Japanese market and promoting market competition to resolve the trade imbalance between the two countries. Negotiation mechanisms for each trade area were set up separately in response to criticism that the framework does not effectively yield specific results. The deregulation framework talks are jointly chaired by officials of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Trade Representatives Office (USTR). The participants are from related government agencies, including the Ministry of Transport. In June 1995, the two sides reached an agreement regarding automobiles and auto-parts in relation to the Japanese automobile registration system. Based on this agreement, the definition of disassembly repair was reviewed, and a new system was established to certify plants that only service specific parts. In annual meetings, the two countries examine progress in the implementation of the agreements to ensure full compliance. The U.S. demand for further deregulation led to the abolition of disassembly repair in May 1998.
Harbor transportation issues
In the Japanese port transportation industry, the Japan Port and Harbor Association had traditionally coordinated stevedoring work, standing between marine transport companies and labor unions in situations that could affect the jobs of port workers, such as the shifting of container berths. The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) determined that this coordination process is unfair and leads to decisions that discriminate against foreign companies. In 1997, the U.S. expressed its intention to charge 100,000 dollars each time a container ship belonging to one of Japans three major marine transport companies calls at a U.S. port, citing the closed nature of Japans stevedoring system. After the ensuing negotiations between the two governments, the industry introduced a new system, allowing maritime transport companies to negotiate with individual harbor transport businesses. The trade dispute also identified the lack of legislation governing situations whereby Japanese maritime transport companies are in the disadvantage.