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Japan is angry about China's decision to add 100% tax on Japanese cars, mobile phones and air conditioners. The Chinese move comes after a decision by Japan to impose import restrictions on agricultural products from China. Peter Hadfield reports from Tokyo
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Chinese Premier 22nd June 2001

Japan/China trade friction

NEWS 1  
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Japan says the move by China violates a bilateral trade agreement and World Trade Organisation rules, even though China isn't a member of the WTO. Beijing says it is retaliating for Japanese emergency import quotas on mushrooms, leeks and rush mats from China. The dispute has boiled over after months of pressure from Japanese companies who claim they are being undercut by cheap Chinese imports. Manufacturers of everything from ties to towels have been asking for protection. Five years ago most Japanese consumers passed over cheap Chinese imports in favour of domestic products.


violates - breaks

a bilateral trade agreement - a commercial agreement between two countries

retaliating - taking action against someone because of what they have done to you, a kind of revenge

import quotas - restrictions on the number or amount of particular goods that can be brought in from another country

being undercut - if you are being undercut then someone is offering products at a cheaper price than you are

NEWS 2  
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But after drifting in and out of recession through the nineties, consumers are now much more keen to seek out cheaper imports. Although Tokyo is protesting loudly against the Chinese move, Japanese officials say privately that Beijing may be deliberately targeting products that are not big sellers in China so as to prevent this from becoming an all-out trade war. The total value of the affected exports is around half-a-billion dollars a year and tariffs on them are already high. Japan's Trade Minister says he is prepared to go to Beijing himself to sort this dispute out but he added that it wouldn't affect Japan's support for China's entry into the World Trade Organisation.


drifting - moving slowly

recession - a time when the economy of a country is poor

to seek out - to look for

targeting - choosing, selecting

tariffs - taxes

to sort this dispute out - if you sort a problem out you fix it, you make it better

dispute - disagreement


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