January 17, 2013 / 3:00 PM / 5 years ago

Automakers urge U.S. fight Japan's actions to weaken yen

WASHINGTON, Jan 17 (Reuters) - U.S. auto manufacturers on Thursday urged the Obama administration to fight Japanese efforts to revive their economy by weakening the yen to boost exports.

Japan is stuck in its fourth recession since 2000 and its export-reliant economy is suffering from a strong yen.

New Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has put pressure on the Bank of Japan to further ease monetary policy, which would put downward pressure on the yen, by doubling its annual inflation target to 2 percent.

"Here we go again. Japan's Liberal Democratic party is back in power and determined to repeat the 'beggar thy neighbor' policies that distort trade by cheapening the value of the yen to promote economic growth in Japan at the expense of its trading partners," Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive Policy Council, said in a statement.

"We urge the Obama Administration to make it clear to Japan that such policies are unacceptable and will be met by reciprocal measures," Blunt said.

The group represents the Detroit Three U.S. automakers, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, which is controlled by Italian automaker Fiat.

Forecasts of aggressive action by the Bank of Japan to weaken the yen have driven the dollar sharply higher in recent months, with the greenback gaining nearly 11.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 and 2.1 percent so far this year.

The United States has long had an auto and auto parts trade deficit with Japan, totaling more than $50 billion in 2012.

A weaker yen would make Japanese-made autos even more competitive in the United States.

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