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Japan to join EU action against Mas
Subject: Japan to join EU action against Massachusetts law
Japan to join EU action against Massachusetts law
(The Japan Ti mes)
Japan will join the European Union as early as next week in filing a
complaint with the World Trade Organization about a Massachusetts law
that denies state contracts to companies doing business in Myanmar,
government sources said July 4.
"We have so far waited for the United States to reconsider the
Massachusetts law, but we cannot wait for so long," one of the sources
said. "We will make a final decision, probably next week, to take the
case to the WTO unless we receive a firm commitment from the U.S. by
then to abolish the law."
Last month, the 15-nation EU requested "bilateral consultations" with
the U.S. in the first stage of the WTO's dispute-settlement procedures.
The EU can request establishment of a neutral panel to rule on the
dispute if the consultations fail to resolve the case within 60 days of
the complaint being filed.
Since the EU lodged the complaint, Japan has been considering whether it
should take the same step or join bilateral consultations between the EU
and the U.S. as an "interested third party," the sources said.
Participation in the bilateral consultations as an interested third
party would require U.S. approval, the sources said. In addition, the
status would not grant Japan the right to request establishment of a WTO
dispute-settlement panel to deal with the case, the sources added.
Since Massachusetts' Myanmar sanctions law, which was signed by Gov.
William Weld last summer, took effect in January, both Japan and the EU
have complained to Washington that the law violates a WTO agreement on
government procurement practices. The accord covers not only central
governments but also local governments registered in the commitments
made by WTO members.
WTO replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in January 1995
as a more powerful watchdog on international commerce. The U.S. agreed
to put Massachusetts and some other states under the WTO
After Tokyo and Brussels complained to the U.S. over the Myanmar
sanctions law, a group of legislators from Massachusetts sent letters to
the two capitals in February warning against interfering in the internal
affairs of their state.
"THERE WILL BE NO REAL DEMOCRACY IF WE CAN'T GURANTEE THE RIGHTS OF THE
MINORITY ETHNIC PEOPLE. ONLY UNDERSTANDING THEIR SUFFERING AND HELPING
THEM TO EXERCISE THEIR RIGHTS WILL ASSIST PREVENTING FROM THE
DISINTEGRATION AND THE SESESSION." "WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING THEIR
STRENGTH, WE CAN'T TOPPLE THE SLORC AND BURMA WILL NEVER BE IN PEACE."
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