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GM CHAIRMAN SAYS JAPAN TRIP SIGNALS CHANGE

 GM CHAIRMAN SAYS JAPAN TRIP SIGNALS CHANGE
 /ADVANCE/ DETROIT, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The most significant


change signaled by President Bush's visit to Japan with U.S. business leaders is a new era of government-business cooperation, General Motors Chairman Robert C. Stempel said today.
 "We started a meaningful process in Japan, and we mean to follow up on it," Stempel said at the kickoff dinner for the annual Automotive News World Congress.
 "For the first time, Japan saw the power of a joint U.S. government- industry initiative," Stempel said. "It was a change and they knew it. For a long time, Japan has depended on the U.S. government to keep U.S. business 'in line' while Japan, Incorporated, expanded.
 "This time, the Department of Commerce got it right. They understand -- as the Japanese have long understood -- that a thriving, vital automobile industry is essential to a thriving, vital national economy."
 Despite public debate over the value of the Japan trip, Stempel said that if it "accomplished nothing other than to raise political and public awareness of the importance of a viable auto industry and a correspondingly strong industrial base in this country, then I can tell you it was an outstanding success.
 "If enough of the American public say to themselves, 'Hey, one of seven jobs in this country is dependent on our auto industry. Where are the jobs going to be in the future?', then all the effort was worthwhile. And if enough U.S. consumers take the time to check the outstanding, world-class products being offered by the domestic manufacturers, I am confident that GM will continue its more than 50 years of leadership as the number-one producer of vehicles in the world."
 "The one thing I know the trip accomplished was to strengthen the ties between American government and American business," Stempel emphasized.
 He credited President Bush and Department of Commerce Secretary Robert A. Mosbacher for providing the initiative to further open up international trade, changing the image of American goods and services and demonstrating that the U.S. has high-quality, high-value products to help reduce the chronic imbalance of trade between the U.S. and Japan.
 He said the term "open market" has a different meaning in the U.S. than it does in Japan.
 "In the U.S. open market, 36 percent of the vehicles sold are imported," he said. "In what the Japanese call an 'open market,' 3 percent of the vehicles are imports."
 Stempel said the number of companies competing for a share of the world automotive market is large and growing, but he expressed confidence that U.S. auto manufacturers now have products equal to or better than foreign manufacturers.
 He stressed that the American automobile industry is the leader in fuel economy, and that today "the difference in quality among cars is not an issue."
 "We don't have to ask the American public to prove their loyalty by buying American products," Stempel said. "We don't have to ask them to buy our cars or trucks because they feel sorry for us. We don't have to ask them to buy out of a sense of patriotism or pity. We want them to buy our products because they have high quality and high value."
 -0- 1/12/92/2000
 /CONTACT: J.W. Crellin of General Motors, 313-556-2027/
 (GM) CO: General Motors Corporation ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:


DH -- DESU01 -- 8880 01/12/92 14:57 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 12, 1992
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