More use of U.S. parts in Hondas sought

March 01, 1992|By Knight-Ridder News Service

WASHINGTON -- Five influential congressmen asked President Bush on Friday to make sure Japanese automaker Honda puts more U.S. parts in its North American-built cars.

House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., was joined by four Michigan lawmakers in pressing Mr. Bush for a "thorough" inspection of the content of cars that Honda builds

in Canada and sells to Americans.

Under a U.S.-Canada free trade treaty, Canadian-made cars avoid U.S. duties if their content is more than half-American or Canadian.

Honda disclosed on Feb. 11 that the U.S. Customs Service has preliminarily decided the automaker's Canadian-built Civics don't quality for the tariff exemptions. The reason, Honda said, is Customs believes the Ohio-built engines used for the Canadian cars are more than half foreign in content.

Customs' formal ruling in the bitterly contested Honda inspection is expected this week.

The case is a focus of the politically charged debate over Japanese business practices in America.

Supporters of the U.S. auto industry say Honda is unfairly stealing part of the American market; Honda says it is the victim of growing anti-Japanese politics.

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