Ford is crying foul over Japan's desire to join a proposed free trade agreement among Asia-Pacific countries. The Trans-Pacific Partnership aims to reduce regulatory hurdles among its participants, but Steve Beigun, Ford vice president for international government affairs, claims the Japanese auto market is "the most protected automotive market in the developed world," and that the industry is unnecessarily dependent on exports to survive. Beigun's solution? Force the Japanese auto industry to restructure before allowing Japan in on the TPP. In industry speak, that means closing down factories.

That's an odd claim given that Japan can't possibly have a lower tariff on imported cars: zero percent. For comparison's sake, importers looking to bring vehicles into the U.S. face a 2.5 percent tariff. But Beigun says Japan uses non-tariff barriers and currency manipulation to discourage imports. Beigun declined to elaborate on what those "non-tariff barriers" are. William Duncan, the director of the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association, has been quoted as saying Beigun's assertions are "rather bizarre."

If Japan is guilty of currency manipulation, it's doing a poor job. The yen is currently at a near all-time high against the U.S. dollar, and Japanese manufacturers have steadily worked to move production out of their home country over the past two decades. All told, 70 percent of the machines Japanese automakers sell in the U.S. are built on American soil. So, why is Ford up in arms over Japan? It could be the manufacturer wants to put the country, and its manufacturers at a disadvantage in the markets covered by the TPP.


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  • 63 Comments
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Conflict of interest?
      That Guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Amazing how arrogant Ford is these days. From pricing vehicles to telling countries they need to close factories…it’s absolutely astounding. Ford really is the new Toyota. Mediocre products and a sense that they cannot do anything wrong.
        Justin Campanale
        • 2 Years Ago
        @That Guy
        I don't agree with what Ford is doing here, but you are a complete idiot. Oh wait. Now I know. You're Matt/Z71 Silvy/true_voice under a new username and you are here to troll every Ford forum out there.
        ngiotta
        • 2 Years Ago
        @That Guy
        You're right. The next thing you know, they're going to want to pay $0 of taxes on $13,000,000,000 of profit. Oops. Wrong automaker. By the way, if you want mediocre, drive a Sonic, Malibu or Impala.
      Walt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Autoblog, please. You cite the current high value of the yen in relation to the U.S. dollar as evidence of no currency manipulation without bothering to look at the historical picture because doing so would poke holes in your troll bait. Japanese currency manipulation was so bad there was at one point a bill introduced in congress to stop the practice. "6/27/2007--Introduced. Japan Currency Manipulation Act - Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to report to Congress on: (1) currency intervention by Japan with respect to the rate of exchange of the Japanese yen and the U.S. dollar and other currencies since 2000; and (2) any effort by Japan to create an exchange-rate misalignment of the Japanese yen with respect to the U.S. dollar and other currencies since March 2004. Requires the Secretary to submit to Congress a proposal for a comprehensive joint U.S.-European Union plan to address the exchange-rate misalignment of the Japanese yen with respect to the U.S. dollar and other currencies. Directs the Secretary to: (1) initiate consultations with Japan to decrease Japan's foreign currency reserve holdings to permit effective balance of payments adjustments and to eliminate its unfair competitive advantage in international trade; and (2) take appropriate action to dissuade, prevent, or object to currency intervention by Japan. Directs the United States to call for the convening of a special meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reach a multilateral agreement regarding: (1) the exchange-rate misalignment of the Japanese yen with respect to the U.S. dollar and other currencies; (2) the destabilizing effects of the exchange-rate misalignment of the Japanese yen; and (3) Japan's excessive foreign currency reserve holdings. Directs the Secretary to report to Congress on: (1) progress made toward decreasing Japan's foreign currency reserve holdings; and (2) actions taken at meetings of the G-7 Leaders, G-7 Finance Ministers, and the IMF regarding the exchange-rate misalignment of the Japanese yen with respect to the U.S. dollar and other currencies, including any progress toward eliminating such misalignment." http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/110/hr2886 The only reason Japan's currency manipulation isn't working at the moment is because we have our Communist in Chief doing everything he can to spend the United States into Oblivion. Because of that, our dollar has become quite devalued in relation to all other currencies. I suspect this situation will gradually improve under President Romney and Japan's automakers will once again be able to make billions in extra profits due to currency manipulation. In the meantime, Japan's past currency sins are enough to preclude their membership in any free trade agreement.
        Justin Campanale
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Walt
        Looks like this troll finally got internet access under his bridge.
        Walt
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Walt
        So I bring FACTS and I'm a troll? What does that make those that can only run their stupid mouth on matters they are unwilling or unable to comprehend?
          axiomatik
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Walt
          Your 1st three paragraphs were good. But then last one is pure troll bait with such loaded terms as "Communist in Chief". When you throw in terminology like that, people will tend to dismiss your comments, even if they are valid. Same goes for people who use the terms "Shrub" or "Moonbase Gingrich". It colors the entire post as a partisan attack instead of serious discussion.
        Famsert
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Walt
        Walt so when the US engages in currency manipulation, it's called overspending by a communist? Get real. I can't believe you even got votes up. The US engaged in massive bouts of quantitative easing itself as has many other countries. Look it up: QE1 and QE2. The only reason the US introduced a bill against Japan for it is because of politics.
      The Other Bob
      • 2 Years Ago
      Until Ford, VW, GM BMW and every other maker in the world sells in significant numbers in Japan, this guy has a point. Ford was prohibited by law from buying more than a third of Mazda. I don' t care if Japan's barriers are tariffs, non-tariff or cultural, they are protectionist so should face tariffs or other panalties elsewhere.
        DB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @The Other Bob
        Actually Bob, Nothing stopped Ford from buying more of Mazda. Ford choose to buy 33.4% of Mazda because, under Japan law this was the lowest ownership you needed to have in a company in order to have control of the company. Weird, huh? If Ford had 100% of Mazda it would have no more control than it did with 33.4%. "In 1996, Ford increased its share to 33.4%, giving it effective control of the company under Japanese law." http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122699454190736773.html
        TelegramSam
        • 2 Years Ago
        @The Other Bob
        What are these barriers?
      Burabus
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ford needs to grow some balls and stop whining
      Maddoxx
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you can't beat them cry foul so the government can put them at a disadvantage?? This is what ford has succumbed to? Hey Ford how about making a decent car to compete? Your whole lineup is garbage, boring uninnovative, unoriginal cars, Ford you are the new Toyota except your engineering and design aren't up to par.
        Steve
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Maddoxx
        Ford is far from Toyota's bland designs. Toyota and their bland designs are doing well in Japan because Toyota is a Japanese company and the Japanese buy Japanese products. It is very simple!
      • 2 Years Ago
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        • 2 Years Ago
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          • 2 Years Ago
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      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Gabbo
        • 2 Years Ago
        Hmmm - don't know about that, but you sure are.
      Steven Paul
      • 2 Years Ago
      There should never be a "free trade" with any international company... That is the entire reason we are where we are today. All the back yard deals that have been done and international companies just coming here and making made cash and running across the lake... Good points in some of these other comments though... http://www.testdrivetech.net
      RGT881
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like Ford and its management, but what they're talking about here is pure lip-service designed to appease UAW, general public and White House. It's the election year, there will be plenty of strange PR releases. Japan's car market isn't important and its exports are weaker than ever. Mazda is lost, Honda confused, Nissan and Toyota are only ones in good position. Are there barriers to Japan's market? Yes, but who cares. Ford has a bigger fish to fry in BRICs. I'm fairly certain we'll see Mazda merge with some other manufacturer next year. Side note.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @RGT881
        [blocked]
      billfrombuckhead
      • 2 Years Ago
      Japan has the highest per capita debt in world from buying the yen down for half a century. If only Americans would only buy American products we still might have a strong middleclass.
        Justin Campanale
        • 2 Years Ago
        @billfrombuckhead
        Yay for less choice!!!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @billfrombuckhead
        [blocked]
        RotaryExperiment
        • 2 Years Ago
        @billfrombuckhead
        ...if only American products were what they once were....
        Steve
        • 2 Years Ago
        @billfrombuckhead
        You are right Bill. The Japanese buy Japanese products out of pride for their country and it companies. They don't buy foreign (American, Korean, German, etc.....). They also buy Japanese to keep their economy going. I have heard this 1st hand from Japanese friends. It is very simple.....
      techie69
      • 2 Years Ago
      Another handout necessary for Ford!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @techie69
        [blocked]
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