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China, Japan End Trade Dispute - 2001-12-21

China and Japan have resolved a nine-month-old trade dispute over imports of Chinese agricultural products. The agreement was reached during last-ditch ministerial talks in the Chinese capital.

Japan will not impose full trade sanctions on three disputed Chinese farm products. Japanese Agriculture Minister Tsutomu Takebe said that, in return, China has agreed to lift import tariffs on Japanese cars, mobile phones and air conditioners.

Speaking at a news conference in Beijing Friday, Mr. Takebe said the two countries will set up a mechanism for exchanging information, to help prevent new trade disputes.

China's Ministry of Foreign Trade said in a statement that resolving the row benefits the healthy development of trade relations between China and Japan.

Trade officials from both sides scrambled to reach an agreement by Friday, the deadline for Tokyo to decide whether to set long-term import curbs on Chinese shiitake mushrooms, leeks and straw for floor mats.

In April, Tokyo slapped temporary import tariffs on the Chinese farm products, saying the cheap imports were hurting Japanese producers. Beijing retaliated in June by imposing 100 percent tariffs on imports of Japanese cars, mobile phones and air conditioners.

Both sides had considered taking the dispute to the World Trade Organization if they could not resolve their differences. China joined the global trade body less than two weeks ago.