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Public Papers - 1990

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Japan-United States Structural Impediments Initiative Negotiations


Since the March 2 - 4 Palm Springs meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Kaifu, Japan and the United States have been busily engaged in strengthening the U.S.-Japan relationship by resolving on-going trade and economic issues. An agreement has been concluded on supercomputers, and agreements in principle have been reached on satellites and telecommunications.

Today the U.S.-Japan SII working group released its interim report on the progress achieved to date. The SII talks represent an approach that may be unique in the history of bilateral trade and economic discussions. The talks were designed to identify and resolve the structural impediments that contribute to economic tensions between the two countries. Accordingly, the interim report and assessment identifies specific areas impeding the adjustment of the trade imbalance in both countries. The interim report is the first major step in a process that will include a final SII report in July as well as implementation and follow-on.

Prime Minister Kaifu and the political leadership of Japan have worked long and hard to produce the policy commitments embedded in the SII interim report. Because structural problems are deeply ingrained in both economies, complete results will not come quickly. However, the SII interim report is an important way station along the road leading to a strengthened U.S.-Japan relationship. We believe that the Prime Minister will continue to exercise his assertive leadership on these issues and that this will greatly facilitate the work on remaining economic and trade issues. Japan's inputs to the SII interim report have been very positive ones, and we look forward to further cooperation on the final report in July. For its part, the United States will continue to do its utmost to address the structural issues identified in the SII interim report as affecting the competitiveness of the U.S. economy.

As President Bush has said, the leadership of Prime Minister Kaifu has brought a new spirit of cooperation to our relationship -- a positive, cooperative force which will strengthen our security relationship and enhance the U.S.-Japan global partnership while simultaneously facilitating the solution of outstanding economic differences.

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