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JAPANESE AUTOMAKERS WRITE TREASURY SECRETARY OF SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES IF TARIFFS RAISED ON MPVS

 WASHINGTON, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Japan's leading automakers have written a letter to Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen pointing out that raising the import tariff on multipurpose passenger vehicles (MPVs) would violate major trade agreements and have serious consequences on U.S.-Japanese trade relations, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) announced today.
 In an April 21 letter to Bentsen, JAMA General Director William C. Duncan called the proposal to reclassify MPVs and subject them to a 25 percent tariff an "unequivocal violation" of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) that "would ... potentially disrupt both the current and future world trading system."
 JAMA indicated that approval of the tariff increase would be a clear violation of several GATT provisions and "JAMA would have no choice but to urge the government of Japan to take all appropriate steps to remedy such violations." Under international law, GATT violations can entitle the injured trading partners to financial compensation and to internationally approved retaliation efforts.
 The letter also urged that the United States not mistakenly believe, as suggested by some, that the GATT complaint process would involve "complex procedural requirements" that would delay a decision indefinitely. Duncan said the 1,000 percent tariff hike would be such a clear violation of GATT that "the United States would be misled if it were to believe that its action would involve any legal interpretations that are sufficiently complex to effectively delay any GATT dispute resolution proceedings."
 Duncan said that seeking to benefit from any delays in the GATT complaint process would blatantly contradict the current U.S. policy on reforming GATT: "The notion that the United States would be willing to risk facing a GATT complaint because of the current procedural situation in the GATT is itself a repudiation of the very principles for which the United States has been arguing strenuously in the Uruguay Round (of GATT reform talks)."
 The letter pointed out that Japanese automakers have voluntarily and consistently demonstrated their commitment to improving the competitiveness of the U.S. auto industry -- by increasing purchases of U.S. auto parts, reducing exports to the United States, aiding U.S. auto sales in Japan and investing heavily in U.S. industry. Duncan commented that, "Reclassification would eventually place at risk the very substantial benefits resulting from the expansion and internationalization of the U.S. auto industry."
 JAMA also sent the letter to Secretary to State Warren Christopher; USTR Ambassador Michael Kantor; head of the National Economic Council, Robert Rubin; and head of the National Security Council, Anthony Lake.
 -0- 4/28/93
 /CONTACT: John Kiker, 202-973-5849 or Dave Beardsley, 202-973-5867, both for Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association/


CO: Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association

ST: District of Columbia IN: AUT SU:

DC-IH -- DC036 -- 2178 04/28/93 15:10 EDT
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Date:Apr 28, 1993
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