Buy Our Car Seats, Japan, Or It's War

For weeks, Japanese and American officials have been exchanging fightin' words in their trade spat over autos. Now, unless negotiators unexpectedly patch together a deal in a last-ditch round of talks in Geneva on June 22 and 23, Washington will impose stinging tariffs on 13 Japanese luxury models in late June. Japanese carmakers and their U.S. dealers--facing layoffs and possibly billions in lost sales--are fuming. But the fireworks obscure the core issue in the dispute. Says Economic Strategy Institute President Clyde V. Prestowitz Jr.: "This is really a parts issue, not a car issue."

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