Prying open Japan's door
THE new US and Japanese pact regarding American beef and citrus exports is a long-overdue agreement in the best interests of both nations. It is now important that Japan take additional steps to open its large domestic market to other US exports - including high-technology products and financial services.
The new four-year pact doubles the annual Japanese quotas for US beef and citrus products. A previous agreement expired March 31. In recent weeks, the Reagan administration put intense pressure on Japan to sharply liberalize its quotas - or face retaliatory measures against Japanese exports to the United States.
In dollar terms alone, the new beef-citrus pact is not all that important. For beef producers, for example, the pact means an additional $300 million in exports. But dollar value, by itself, has never been the driving element in the equation. Rather, the pact is symbolic in that it means that the tightly restricted Japanese consumer market is now pried open one more notch.
For US trade negotiators, that is only fair, since the US has allowed Japan to garner substantial market shares in the United States in such key - and expensive - consumer products as autos and electronic goods.
By contrast, Japan has tended to sharply limit imports.
The new pact also works in favor of Japanese consumers, since it will help to hold down the high price of Japanese beef.
Americans, as a whole, have a very high regard for Japan. In fact, a new Gallup poll shows Americans consider Japan a reliable ally, and favor Tokyo's taking on greater security responsibilities in the Far East.
Thus, every agreement such as the new beef and citrus pact which furthers commerce between the two peoples of the Pacific is not only good foreign policy - but another step solidifying a continuing friendship as well.