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When it comes to global vehicle deliveries, the term "Big Three" doesn't apply to Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, but instead Toyota, GM and Volkswagen - in that order - through the third quarter of 2013. Toyota sold 7.41-million vehicles through the third quarter and is on track to deliver more vehicles this year than GM and VW, which sold 7.25-million and 7.03-million, respectively, through the same period, Bloomberg reports.

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Japan joined Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement talks late in July, so the US is sending Trade Representative Mike Froman to Japan on August 19 to negotiate ways to open up the country's auto import market in ways that will benefit all member countries, Politico reports. The TPP free trade deal, which involves countries like Singapore, Brunei and Vietnam – but not China – is set to close at the end of 2013.

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Trade issues between the United States and Japan, especially in the automotive sector, have struck a repetitive note for decades: our market is open to them, their market is effectively closed to us. Even though Japan doesn't apply tariffs to cars we export there – whereas we tax Japanese passenger cars 2.5 percent and Japanese light trucks 25 percent – other barriers like Japan's 2,000-unit cap in the Preferential Handling Program and regulatory hurdles have limited the amount of ef

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