US, Japan to jointly address steel, aluminum overcapacity

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai have started consultations Nov. 12 with Japan to address global steel and aluminum excess capacity and take effective measures to ensure the long-term viability of the two metals industries.

“Secretary Raimondo and Ambassador Tai reiterated concerns about the impact on US industries stemming from global non-market excess capacity driven largely by China,” Commerce said in a statement. “The distortions that result from this excess capacity pose a serious threat to the market-oriented US steel and aluminum industries and the workers in those industries.”

Commerce said the consultations will also seek solutions to “strengthen the democratic alliance” between the US and Japan.

“The two countries accordingly share similar national security interests as democratic, market economies,” the department said. “These consultations present an opportunity to promote high standards, address shared concerns, including climate change and hold countries like China that support trade-distorting non-market policies and practices to account.”

The US and Japan will also discuss issues including the former’s steel and aluminum tariffs and global metal trade flows “with the aim of taking mutually beneficial and effective actions to restore market-oriented conditions and preserve our critical industries.”

After earlier meetings between the two governments, Hagiuda Koichi, Japan’s minister of economy, trade and industry, said he requested a resolution to the US steel and aluminum tariffs that are still enforced on Japanese metal under Section 232, according to a statement issued by the ministry Nov. 4.

— Nick Lazzaro