Seeing representatives (and often top executives) from the Big Three automakers lobbying in Washington on behalf of the industry is nothing new. But General Motors, Ford and Chrysler aren't the only companies manufacturing automobiles in the United States these days. So too are a growing number of foreign automakers, chief among them Japanese companies, which are now eager to exercise their own lobbying influence on Capitol Hill.

In fact a group of 79 congressmen recently sent a letter to President Obama supporting Japanese automakers manufacturing and selling their cars in America. The bipartisan letter was drafted by Representatives Pete P. Gallego (D-Texas) and Alan Nunnelee (R-Mississippi), and urged the President to support Japanese automakers and their impact on the US economy while the administration undertakes negotiations over a 12-nation agreement that stands to create the second largest free-trade zone in the world.

"Congress and the administration must continue to foster a business climate that promotes the United States as a premier location for global companies to build, sell and export their products," read the letter, which was not supported by any congressional representatives from Michigan. The letter further noted that Japanese automakers have created some 76,000 jobs through its 29 plants across the country and another 419,000 jobs through dealerships that sell cars made by Japanese automakers.

According to Nunnelee, the lawmakers "wanted to remind the president of the significant contributions these automakers and dealers make to our nation's economy each day."

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