TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan decided Friday to keep levying punitive tariffs on U.S. ball bearings for another year, in retaliation against the U.S. action to keep implementing its antidumping trade law that has been ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization.
Tokyo will extend the current retaliatory measures until Aug. 31 next year to retaliate against the U.S. government practice of distributing its antidumping duties among U.S. manufacturers to cover their losses from cheap imports, a Finance Ministry official said.
The Japanese government will formally endorse the decision at a Cabinet ministers' meeting next Tuesday to uphold the retaliatory steps beyond the expiration date of Aug. 31 this year, he said.
The U.S. practice is based on the Byrd amendment and is still in place even though Washington repealed it in February 2006, following a WTO ruling in January 2003, which found that the amendment violates global trade rules.
The distribution of antidumping duties among U.S. makers has been continuing even after the transition period following the law's invalidation ended Oct. 1 last year.
The ministry official said the practice is expected to stay for some time, because it takes more than one year in the United States to fix the amount of antidumping duties collected from Japanese exports that had cleared through U.S. customs before Sept. 30 last year.
Tokyo has been levying 15 percent tariffs on 15 U.S. items, including steel products, aircraft parts and printers.
But the Japanese government will impose the duties on only two bearing items from Sept. 1 and reduce the tariff rate to 10.6 percent, in accordance with a recent sharp drop in the amount of antidumping duties provided to U.S. manufacturers.
Japan plans to swiftly terminate the retaliatory steps after the United States stops the practice based on the Byrd amendment, according to the official.
The European Union also imposes punitive tariffs on U.S. goods such as paper and clothing in retaliation against the antidumping law.
Meanwhile, the ministry official also said Japan will formally slap antidumping duties on electrolytic manganese dioxide imported from Australia, China, South Africa and Spain for five years from Sept. 1.
The punitive tariffs have been imposed as a provisional measure since June 14 to safeguard domestic makers from cheap products.
The additional tariff rates of between 14.0 percent and 46.5 percent will apply to those electrolytic manganese dioxide imports which are mostly used in batteries, the official said.
The original tariff rate for imports from Australia and Spain is 3.3 percent, while products from China and South Africa are treated as duty-free.