Access to foreign markets is increasingly critical to the U.S. as global competition increases. Past efforts by the U.S. to penetrate the Japanese market have often focused on overcoming formal trade barriers including tariffs, quotas, and product standards. Although this form of intervention has enjoyed success, limited effort has been devoted to analyzing informal trade barriers. This study examines informal trade barriers in terms of the attitudes of Japanese distributors toward U.S. products. The study focuses on a product-market for which Japan is the leading single-country importer for the U.S.: fruit. Recent inroads into the Japanese market by other countries have eroded the position of the U.S. This erosion will continue unless U.S. exporters can develop appropriate strategies based on sound market intelligence.
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