Japan in the Free World Economy: A Statement on National Policy by the Research and Policy Committee of the Committee for Economic Development

By Keizai Doyukai; United Nations Environment Programme | Go to book overview

in liberalizing towards each other. Great Britain had a political interest in a liberal and preferential policy towards Commonwealth countries, some of which were in direct competition with Japan. The United States was the champion of the Western political interest in equal treatment of Japan, but this was not sufficient.

Discrimination against Japan's exports was "legal".

Although the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade provided that members would follow non-discriminatory economic policies toward each other, it also contained a provision, Article XXXV, which permitted discrimination against countries that were not initially members even if they subsequently became members. Japan did not become a full member until 1955, and, even after she joined, other countries were legally entitled, as far as the GATT was concerned, to continue discrimination against her.

Some of the European and American industries to which imports from Japan offered the most competition were industries, such as cotton textiles and pottery, already in trouble.

Their domestic markets were not growing rapidly, they faced severe domestic competition from substitute materials and their productivity was rising relatively slowly. A rapid expansion of imports concentrated in such industries might have forced more difficult adjustments than if the imports had been of a different character. Probably the adjustment would have been beneficial to the importing country in the end, but there was a natural desire to postpone it.

Japan's low wage rates were often interpreted as a reason for exceptional fear of Japanese imports, and, therefore, for special resriction of them.

Japan was not always, for reasons listed below, prepared to offer substantial concessions in exchange for liberalization by others.

1. Throughout the postwar period, Japan has felt her balance of payments position to be precarious.

Japan's industrial production is critically dependent on imported raw materials, and her growth depends upon ability to pay for an in-

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