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Japan auto industry welcomes shelving of higher U.S. auto tariffs

TOKYO — Japan’s auto industry body welcomed Thursday the shelving of higher U.S. tariffs on Japanese auto imports following an agreement overnight between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump.


“We hope there will be positive talks (between the two countries) toward the development of the economy and auto industry of both countries,” said Akio Toyoda, chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, who is also president of Toyota Motor Corp.


Toyoda, in a statement, expressed “hope to make efforts to continue our business activities rooted in the United States and contribute to the sound development of (U.S.) industry and economy.”


JAMA had raised concerns about a possible U.S. hike in tariffs on imports of auto parts and vehicles after Washington said it would consider imposing the measures on the grounds of national security.


Following the summit between Abe and Trump on Wednesday in New York, Japan and the United States agreed to start negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement.


Abe said he confirmed with Trump that Japan will be exempted from the potential imposition of tariffs on imports of cars and auto parts as long as trade negotiations are under way.


With 24 production bases and 44 research and development centers across 19 states in the United States, JAMA stressed that Japanese automakers have invested and created jobs in the United States for over half a century.


“Japan-U.S. cooperation based on mutual trust and a free and fair trade environment is indispensable for the auto industries of both countries to continue to develop sustainably and enhance global competitiveness,” Toyoda said.

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