U.S., Japan Agree To Hasten Telecom Equipment Trade

Trade is worth $3 billion.

The U.S. and Japan agreed Feb. 16 to remove a key non-tariff barrier to their trade in telecommunications and radio equipment worth nearly three billion dollars a year. They signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement in Washington to make certification of such equipment easier, officials said.

The pact was signed by deputy U.S. trade representative Karan Bhatia and Akitaka Saiki, a senior Japanese envoy at the embassy in Washington. Bhatia said it was part of a "building-block approach" by the U.S. to "remove barriers of trade and help grow even more" the bilateral trade.

Following the pact, Japan will accept results of "conformity assessment" procedures, including product testing and certification, performed by the U.S. that determines if telecom equipment meets Japans technical requirements. This, the USTR office said, would lower costs and speed up the marketing in Japan of American products.

In 2005, total U.S.-Japan trade in telecom equipment was approximately $2.6 billion, and Japan was the fourth-largest export market for such products for the U.S.

This is the sixth telecom Mutual Recognition Agreement covering certification that the U.S. has concluded, including those with the EU, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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