WASHINGTON, March 27 (AP) - (Kyodo)—A group of Democratic lawmakers said Friday they had sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling on the administration to tear down foreign nations’ trade barriers to U.S. exports, including “unfair competition” in Japan’s insurance market.
In the letter dated Thursday, the 26 lawmakers belonging to the House Ways and Means Committee did not go into detail, but appear to be seeking to ensure equal competition conditions between Japan Post Insurance Co., a unit of the government-owned Japan Post Group, and private-sector insurers.
They also spoke of the need to tackle foreign countries’ restrictions on beef imports from the United States, apparently including Tokyo’s import ban on U.S. beef from cattle aged over 20 months.
The lawmakers led by Sander Levin, chairman of the House committee, asked the administration to handle these and other trade barriers in its 2010 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, due out next week, with countermeasures such as filing complaints with the World Trade Organization.
“We urge you to use the NTE as an opportunity to address these barriers by instructing (the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative) to request immediate negotiations with our respective key trading partners,” they said.
“If these significant trade issues cannot be resolved on an expedited basis, we urge USTR to take appropriate action, whether under WTO rules, U.S. law, in bilateral negotiations, or a combination of these approaches,” they added.