Tokyo: Japan expressed worries on Wednesday over a “Buy American” clause in the US stimulus package being discussed by Congress, saying it would cause global trade to shrink.
Japan noted that a string of global meetings have urged governments not to resort to protectionism during the global economic crisis.
“Protectionism withers the global economy as a whole,” chief cabinet secretary Takeo Kawamura, the government spokesman, told a press conference.
“The prevention of protectionism has been the direction of summit talks up until now. Governments must maintain such a stance,” he said.
President Barack Obama has opposed the clause in the $819 billion package to stimulate the world’s largest economy.
The House of Representatives passed a bill stipulating that public works projects paid by the bill must use US iron and steel. The Senate version under consideration would extend the restriction to all manufactured goods.
Ichiro Fujisaki, the Japanese ambassador to the United States, is to send letters to the congressional leadership to express Tokyo’s concerns, although not to the White House.
The Japanese foreign ministry declined immediate comment on the ambassador’s plans.
Japan relies on the United States as its key export market. Japanese companies have been hit hard by the slowdown across the Pacific, with household names such as Toyota, Sony and Panasonic cutting thousands of jobs.