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FMC Settles Fees With Japanese Lines After U.S. and Japanese Negotiators Come to Terms in Port Dispute

October 27, 1997

FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION

FMC SETTLES FEES WITH JAPANESE LINES AFTER U.S. AND JAPANESE NEGOTIATORS COME TO TERMS IN PORT DISPUTE

NR 97-20

Washington, D.C. 20573

FOR RELEASE OCTOBER 27, 1997

In response to notification that U.S. and Japanese negotiators have concluded documents, which upon signing will constitute a historic, detailed and far-reaching agreement to reform Japanese port practices, the Federal Maritime Commission today announced that it has reached an agreement with Japanese shipping lines on fees assessed for the month of September. As a result, the Japanese lines have submitted a payment, and it will not be necessary for the Commission to take action against Japanese carriers or vessels to collect those fees. The operations of those carriers will not be interrupted.

FMC Chairman Harold J. Creel, Jr. stated: "I am tremendously pleased that the U.S.-Japan negotiations over port practices have been a success, and that the Commission was instrumental in bringing about progress on the issues by carrying out its responsibilities as Congress intended. The Commission's ability to act as an independent regulatory agency focusing strictly on maritime matters enabled it to act quickly and decisively to address Japanese ports conditions. We commend the outstanding efforts of the negotiators for the United States and the Government of Japan, including Secretaries Albright and Slater, Ambassador Saito, Under Secretary Eizenstat, Acting Maritime Administrator Graykowski, and their teams."

In light of the extensive commitments set forth by the Japanese side and the efforts of Japanese carriers to resolve this matter, the Commission agreed to accept $1.5 million in full payment for fees (originally $4 million) assessed on carriers for the month of September.

The documents completed by the negotiating teams must now be formally signed by the involved parties. Chairman Creel stated: "I hope the Commission's action today will help create a constructive climate for these accords to be formalized and put into effect. As the President noted with respect to the agreement in principle reached last week, this agreement will open trade in Japan's ports and liberalize access for U.S. firms."

The resulting agreement will bring about changes that will benefit the oceanborne trade of both countries. Once implemented, the agreement will reform practices in Japanese ports to the benefit of importers, exporters, ports, workers, and consumers in the U.S. and Japan. The Commission will continue to oversee and monitor implementation of this agreement.

 

Documents from Docket No. 96-20, as well as Commission decisions in other recent proceedings, are available online in the Commission's electronic reading room. To access these materials, first go to the Commission's home page (www.fmc.gov), choose "Public Information Available from FMC," select "Electronic Reading Room," then pick the type of document you wish to view.