TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan is considering slapping tariffs on US exports worth US$409 million (S$547.54 million) in retaliation against steel and aluminium import tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump, public broadcaster NHK said on Thursday (May 17).
The government is preparing to notify the World Trade Organisation of the plan, a necessary procedure under global trade rules, this week, NHK said.
The move is likely to be part of efforts to have Washington add Japan to a list of countries exempted from the US tariffs.
Tokyo's planned retaliatory tariffs on US exports would be the equivalent value to duties imposed by Washington via its tariffs, according to NHK.
A government official said while Tokyo has been considering taking some form of action based on WTO rules, no final decision has been made on whether to take retaliatory steps.
"Nothing has been decided on what specific response we should take. We're scrutinising the impact of US tariffs on Japanese companies, and calling for Washington to offer Japan an exemption," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak publicly.
Japan is the only major US ally that did not receive exemptions from Mr Trump's tariff decision, which came as a shock to many policymakers given Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's close ties with the President.
Tokyo has been wary of joining in the footsteps of China and the European Union, which responded to the US decision with reciprocal threats, given Japan's strong defence ties with the United States.
But some government officials have not ruled out the possibility of raising a trade dispute against the US move to the WTO.