TOKYO – Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono called on Friday the US-approved tariff measures on steel and aluminum imports regrettable, and warned they can damage bilateral trade relations.
“These measures could make a significant impact on the economic and cooperative relationship between Japan and the US who are allies, and as well as on world economy,” Kono said in a statement, following a cabinet meeting.
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshige Seko, called it a unilateral retaliatory measure and said Japan will study a possible response within the framework of the World Trade Organization.
US President Donald Trump had on Thursday signed the imposition of 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum with initial exemptions for Mexico and Canada.
“The actions we are taking today are not a matter of choice; they are a matter of necessity for our security,” Trump said during an event at the White House.
Japan in 2017 exported approximately 1.78 million tons of steel products to the US, which is ranked seventh as destination for Japanese steel exports, according to US data.