China and Japan held three rounds of talks in November to try to resolve their trade dispute but still failed to reach an agreement. The dispute started in April 2001 when Japan imposed temporary emergency import tariffs on three agricultural products to protect Japanese farmers from cheaper Chinese imports. China responded by imposing punitive tariffs on imports from Japan of motor vehicles, air conditioners and mobile phones.
Although the Japanese tariffs lapsed in November, Tokyo has said that it would make them permanent if an agreement on the dispute could not be reached with China. Japan, which maintains that its measures comply with World Trade Organisation rules, has said it would take the dispute to the organisation, which China joined in December.