INTRODUCTION: Japan's automobile manufacturers say the strength of the yen will tend to stabilise Japanese car exports to Western Europe and the United States in this year.
GV Motorway and sign "Le Havre Central Port" (2 shots)
GV Japanese cars in compound on quayside (5 shots)
CU Japanese truck and cars in compound (2 shots)
SV INT British negotiating team walking along corridor in conference room in Lisbon
SV Japanese delegation seated at table
CU ZOOM OUT FROM British delegation seated at table with Japanese
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Japan's automobile manufacturers say the strength of the yen will tend to stabilise Japanese car exports to Western Europe and the United States in this year. Mr. Takashi Ishihara, head of the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers' Association (JAMA), said in Lisbon on Wednesday (4 February) he did not forecast any substantial growth in exports -- it was even possible they could fail this year. Meanwhile, thousands of Japanese cars are being held up at French ports.
SYNOPSIS: The build-up at Le Havre and other ports have been caused by a delay in official approval for 1981 models to go on sale. The French government's move is part of a drive to keep Japan's share of the market to less than three per cent of the car market. During part of last year, Japanese automobiles took up four per cent of French car sales. Last November, European manufacturers went to Tokyo to ask their Japanese counterpart to slow down their exports. Otherwise their governments would be forced to take official measures to reduce them.
Again the subject is in the foreground. JAMA officials discussed these export problems in Lisbon with delegates from the British Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Mr. Isihara, who's also head of Nissan, Japan's second biggest car maker, said JAMA would meet 14 West European manufacturers in April or May to discuss the level of Japanese car exports. Fears are growing in Common Market circles that a car trade war between them and Japan may lie ahead. It now looks as though Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg will limit the entry of Japanese cars. This follows restrictions already imposed in France and Italy.