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JAPANESE AUTOMAKERS EXPRESS STRONG OBJECTION TO HOUSE PASSAGE OF H.R. 4318

 JAPANESE AUTOMAKERS EXPRESS STRONG OBJECTION
 TO HOUSE PASSAGE OF H.R. 4318
 WASHINGTON, July 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Japan's leading automakers today strongly objected to the House of Representatives' passage of a controversial provision in H.R. 4318, which arbitrarily subjects multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPVs) to an exorbitant 25 percent import tariff.
 According to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), American consumers planning to buy imported models of these popular family cars will have to pay what could amount to a $4,000 tax.
 William Duncan, general director of JAMA's Washington office, said Japanese automakers were stunned by the House decision: "This measure is recklessly protectionist. It is unfortunate and unwise. It will line the pockets of the Big Three U.S. automakers by allowing them to eliminate competition and raise prices. And it's American families who will be footing the bill by paying higher prices for these family cars."
 The H.R. 4318 provision reclassifies MPVs made in Japan as "trucks" instead of "passenger vehicles" in order to subject them to a 25 percent tariff and make the vehicles cost thousands of dollars more than their U.S.- and European-made counterparts. The reclassification affects all Japanese-built minivans and sports utility vehicles (SUVs), including the Isuzu Trooper, the Toyota 4 Runner, the Mazda MPV, the Nissan Pathfinder, the Suzuki Sidekick and the Toyota Previa.
 "A 25 percent tariff, which currently applies to pickup trucks and cargo vans, is an exorbitant tariff by any modern industrial standard. It's ironic that American consumers must pay these prices for a temporary duty imposed in 1963 in a trade dispute -- the so- called chicken war -- with Germany, not Japan. It is also incomprehensible that the U.S. House of Representatives would pass such a tariff on Japanese vehicles, excluding vehicles like the Volkswagen Vanagon from Germany and the British Range Rover," Duncan said.
 Japanese automakers were also amazed, according to Duncan, that the House would approve a provision that clearly violates key international trade agreements and disregards the internationally recognized system of customs classification. Duncan said H.R 4318 violates provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which specifically prohibit GATT-bound tariffs from unilateral increases. By singling out Japanese-made vehicles, H.R. 4318 also violates the fundamental principals of "most favored nation" status and the equal-treatment provisions of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation.
 Duncan said H.R. 4318 also ignores the interpretation of the Harmonized Tariff System (HTS), a method of customs classification which has been adopted by virtually all industrialized countries, including Japan, the European Community and the United States. Every other major auto-producing country treats these MPVs as passenger cars under the Harmonized Tariff System.
 "It is our hope that this provision will be removed from the legislation when it is reviewed by the U.S. Senate," Duncan said, "particularly in light of the progress being made in recent months by Japanese automakers to improve trade relations."
 JAMA is the national trade association for the 13 Japanese manufacturers of motor vehicles and motorcycles. Its members include: Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., Hino Motors, Ltd., Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Isuzu Motors Limited, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., Mazda Motor Corporation, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Nissan Diesel Motor Co., Ltd., Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Suzuki Motor Corporation, Toyota Motor Corporation, and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.
 JAMA is dedicated to improving communication and cooperation between the U.S. and Japanese auto industries and is devoted to the dissemination of factual information on the world auto industry. JAMA, which is headquartered in Tokyo, has offices in Washington and Brussels, Belgium.
 -0- 7/31/92
 /CONTACT: John Kiker for the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, 202-342-7048/ CO: Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association ST: District of Columbia IN: AUT SU: LEG


KD -- DC015 -- 5689 07/31/92 14:36 EDT
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Date:Jul 31, 1992
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