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Cablegate: Japanese Thinking On Cutting Tariffs On Goods That

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #4814/01 2880950
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 150950Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8572
INFO RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA PRIORITY 4297
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 5573
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 3737
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA PRIORITY 2646
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 6147
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 7401
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 4443
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3159

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 004814

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/J, EEB/TPP, OES
STATE PASS USTR FOR WCUTLER AND MBEEMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD SENV JA
SUBJECT: JAPANESE THINKING ON CUTTING TARIFFS ON GOODS THAT
CAN REDUCE GREENHOUSE GASES


1. (SBU) Summary: Japanese Government officials report the
call in former PM Mori's September 24 speech to the UN High
Level Event on Climate Change, for countries to reduce
voluntarily their tariffs on goods that can help cut CO2
emissions, is a move to get countries to act now against
climate change. It is also designed to counter the frequent
demand from developing countries that Japan and other
industrialized states transfer technologies to them as part
of the global effort on climate change. Cutting tariffs
voluntarily rather than in the context of the WTO talks
should enable interested countries, in the GOJ's view, to act
now. Regarding Indonesia's suggestion that trade ministers
meet on the margins of the climate change meeting in December
on Bali, GOJ officials privately say if there is going to be
a meeting of trade ministers in the coming months, it should
focus on successfully completing the Doha Development Agenda.
Japan, however, has not yet developed an official position
on how to respond to the Indonesian invitation and plans to
consult with other governments. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Discussions with senior officials at MOFA and METI
regarding the point in former PM Mori's September 24 speech
to the UN High Level Event proposing countries voluntarily
reduce or eliminate tariffs on products that can reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, "such as hybrid cars, wind power
generators, and solar batteries," show a GOJ still in the
early stages of its thinking on the issue. According to one
senior METI official, the Foreign Ministry put the idea into
Mori's speech and the GOJ still needs to do further work
developing the details. Officials at MOFA report the GOJ
believes the reduction or elimination of tariffs on these
goods should be voluntary, not negotiated, and should in no
way interfere with work on the WTO's Doha Development Agenda.


3. (SBU) Senior MOFA officials describe the proposal as a
way to get quick action for cutting global greenhouse gas
emissions -- they specifically note the length of the Doha
Development Agenda talks as a reason for countries to act on
their own rather than waiting to finalize negotiations on
tariff cuts. One MOFA official called it an initiative that
countries could move on as soon as they are ready,
independent of others, and that would eliminate their ability
to use the WTO as an excuse for inaction.

4. (SBU) They also note the Japanese idea is a way to deal
with developing countries who repeatedly call on Japan and
other industrialized countries to transfer technologies to
middle income and developing countries. "The tariffs are a
charge these countries are putting on the technologies and
goods that they say they want from us," one senior MOFA
official said. The voluntary tariff reduction approach is an
effort, he continued, to be creative about aligning market
behavior with steps to promote the public good. Reducing
tariffs would also be among the steps governments could take
to reduce costs so that private sector actors buy and use
environmentally preferable goods and technologies.

5. (U) Officials at MOFA and METI noted the President's
remarks to the Major Economies Meeting also included a call
for eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers on clean
energy goods and services and asked to be further advised on
U.S. thinking on the issue. The MOFA officials also asked
about the proposal to create a new international clean
technology fund.

6. (SBU) Regarding the Indonesian Government's invitation to
trade ministers to meet in December on the margins of the UN
Climate Change Conference on Bali, both MOFA and METI
officials noted that if there is to be a meeting of trade
ministers in the coming months, it should be focused on
reaching a successful conclusion for the Doha Development
Agenda. The GOJ has not yet determined its position on the
Indonesian idea, but senior officials in both MOFA and METI
talking separately to emboffs stressed such discussions on
trade should take place in the WTO. Officials at METI also
noted considerable preparatory work -- for example in terms
of agenda, what will be discussed, and possible results --
needs to be done before trade ministers can decide whether to
meet. The GOJ plans to consult with other governments,

TOKYO 00004814 002 OF 002


including the USG, before reaching a decision on whether to
attend.
SCHIEFFER

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