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Japan Scraps Range of Tariffs, but Some Remain

WTO review calls for more trade barriers to be removed.

GENEVA — Japan has removed all applied tariffs that were as high as 14.2 percent on nine apparel products, including embroidery, bras and girdles, but overall import duties in the sector remain higher than in many other industrial goods, a World Trade Organization report said.

During a two-day review of Japan’s trade regime, some textile and apparel exporters, such as Indonesia, critically noted that the tariff rates for textiles and apparel, and for leather products and footwear, “are significantly higher” than the average applied tariff rate for industrial goods, which stood at 6.3 percent in 2012.

In 2011, Japan’s apparel imports accounted for a 3.9 percent share of its total merchandise imports, with shipments worth $33.4 billion.

The WTO study, used as the benchmark for the review session, also notes that in 2011, shoes, accessories, apparel and bags were the top four product categories of items seized or denied entry by border enforcement authorities. Sports shoes, necklaces, T-shirts, sweatshirts, jeans, handbags and purses were the main items seized, with infringement of trademark rights the main factor in most cases.

In the review, major trading partners, including the U.S., China and the European Union, urged Japan to take new steps to reduce barriers to trade and investment, including regulatory obstacles that hinder foreign investors.