Washington (AFP) -
The United States said Friday it had opened talks with Japan aimed at reducing US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports imposed under former president Donald Trump, after Washington reached a deal on the same issue with the European Union.
Citing 'distortions' caused by global overproduction fueled by China, 'the United States and Japan will seek to resolve bilateral concerns in this area,' US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said.
'The United States and Japan have a historic alliance, built on mutual trust and respect,' Tai and Raimondo said in a statement, before taking aim at Beijing.
'These consultations present an opportunity to promote high standards, address shared concerns, including climate change, and hold countries like China that support trade-distorting non-market policies and practices to account.'
The US officials said market distortions from global non-market excess capacity 'driven largely' by China 'pose a serious threat to the market-oriented US steel and aluminum industries and the workers in those industries.'
Raimondo is due in Tokyo next week for talks with Japanese officials.
Her first official Asian trip will also take her to Malaysia and Singapore, where she will meet with officials from Australia and New Zealand.
In June 2018, Trump imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum from several economies, including the European Union and Japan.
The Republican said he was acting on national security grounds, a claim rejected by critics.
Last week, the United States and the EU announced they would lift those tariffs in what President Joe Biden called a 'new era in transatlantic cooperation.'
The conflict had poisoned trade links between Washington and Brussels.
The US-EU deal will allow limited quantities of European steel and aluminum products to be imported by the United States without tariffs.
In exchange, the EU is lifting threatened retaliatory steps, which had been set to take effect December 1.
Japan and the United States are among the world's top steel producers, ranked behind China, the European Union and India, according to data from the World Steel Association.