Monday, January 24, 2011

Japan 1 France: 0 - Exchanges Stuck until G-20 ..

TOKYO (Dow Jones)--Japanese Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Tuesday he has no specific opinion yet on whether major economies should tighten checks on commodities trading--something France, as chair of the Group of 20 industrial and developing nations is calling for to bring more transparency to global commodities markets.

Japan's Economy Minister Kaoru Yosano, meanwhile, rejected a French proposal for a tax on financial transactions as a way to head off another global financial crisis.

Coming ahead of next month's meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs in Paris, the comments by senior Japanese officials suggest caution toward how they should respond to France's ambitious agenda.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced "various issues" he wants on the G-8 or G-20 agendas, including the commodities market and foreign exchange, Noda said at a news conference following a regular Cabinet meeting.

"We will closely study the current situations beforehand, and consider how Japan should respond, and we want to sort out our thoughts" ahead of the G-20 leaders summit later this year, Noda said.

At a separate news conference, Yosano brushed aside the idea of taxing global financial transactions.

"Such a tax could lead to duplicated taxation, and that's a big defect. The tax is fundamentally unfair," he said.

Although Yosano isn't expected to participate in any G-20-related meetings, his view could influence government discussions, as he is a trusted tax-policy advisor to Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

Noda's caution toward commodities may partly reflect the fact that Japan's finance ministry has no control over commodities market regulation, which is under the jurisdiction of the trade and agriculture ministries. Together with the Financial Services Agency, these ministries also oversee trading of complex financial products linked to commodities, known as derivatives.

"Commodities regulation isn't something the Ministry of Finance can decide on its own," an FSA official told Dow Jones Newswires.

Creating more transparency in the commodities market is a priority for France this year as G-20 chair. Experts say the market is dominated by a handful of players, partly because of its opacity. France has partly been motivated by concerns that recent food and oil-price surges could snuff out a global economic recovery.

-By Takashi Nakamichi, Dow Jones Newswires; 813-6269-2782;

-Takashi Mochizuki contributed to this article

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 24, 2011 23:03 ET (04:03 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.- - 11 03 PM EST 01-24-11

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