251. Memorandum From the United States Trade Representative (Askew) to President Carter1


  • Agreement Regarding Procurement by Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Company

On Friday, December 19, we will formally conclude negotiations with the Government of Japan regarding the application of the International Government Procurement Code between Japan and the United States. This will be done by an exchange of letters between myself and the Japanese trade representative, Dr. Okita.2 This issue is the sole major issue remaining from the Multilateral Trade Negotiations. As a result of this agreement, U.S. exporters will gain access to over $8 billion in purchases by the Japanese Government, including $3.3 billion in purchases by Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Company (NTT).

Agreement with Japan was made possible by resolution of the difficult and highly sensitive issue of coverage of NTT by Code obligations. As you know, we have insisted that Japan provide full access for foreign firms to NTT by making all of its purchases subject to the Code. The Japanese had strongly resisted this proposal. However, after negotiations for more than two years, Japan has agreed to provide full access to NTT, though not in the form we had originally sought. While we have been seeking formal Code coverage of all NTT purchases, Japan has agreed to provide formal coverage of approximately half of NTT’s purchases while placing the remainder of NTT’s purchases under full Code requirements through a bilateral agreement with the United States. In my view, this approach provides, substantively, what we have been seeking.

I have consulted extensively with the U.S. companies, unions, and Congressional leaders most concerned about this issue. Many companies, such as IBM and Motorola, strongly support the agreement. No major company opposes it. The unions are quite skeptical. The members of Congress agree that we should accept the agreement.

  1. Source: Carter Library, White House Central Files, Subject File, Box FG–92, FG 6–15 7/1/79–1/20/81. No classification marking.
  2. Telegram 332636 to Tokyo, December 17, contains the texts of the letters exchanged by Askew and Saburo Okita, Japan’s Government Representative for Exter-nal Economic Relations. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800598–1155)