Wasn’t everyone saying that the RMB repeg would end the threat of trade wars threats with Asia for at least a while? Well here we are, three day later pondering this:

Japan says may impose duties on US goods.

Japan is considering imposing retaliatory duties on U.S. goods to counter subsidies paid by Washington to companies under an anti-dumping program ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization, Japan’s top government spokesman said on Thursday.

The Nihon Keizai business daily reported on Thursday the tariffs could amount to some $76 million on U.S. steel and ball bearing products, and would be imposed from September.

“We are considering the move, in line with WTO regulations,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told a news conference. But he declined to say when and what goods would be subject to the levies.

It would be a first for Tokyo to impose retaliatory duties.

The amount of money is not that significant. The fact that it is happening so soon after the RMB repeg is significant, and the fact that it would be a first for Tokyo to impose retaliatory duties is significant as well.

The WTO has declared the program to be illegal in a challenge brought by the EU, Canada, Japan and other trading partners.

Tokyo plans to keep any levies in place until the Byrd amendment is repealed, media reports said. In June, Tokyo called on Washington to repeal the amendment by the end of July.

The Bush administration has repeatedly proposed repealing the Byrd amendment, but it remains popular with many members of Congress despite the WTO ruling.

What’s next? Perhaps we will see the “currency manipulator” threat before anyone thinks likely, given the rapid pace of things lately.

let’s now review a chart posted here twice before.
Here goes….

Should anyone really be surprised by this sudden protectionist talk?

Mike Shedlock / Mish/