AFTER WEEKS OF DISCORD, JAPAN, US AGREE ON AUTO PACT WORDING

AFTER WEEKS OF DISCORD, JAPAN, US AGREE ON AUTO PACT WORDING

The United States and Japan ended weeks of squabbling and announced that they had agreed on the final wording for an agreement intended to increase sales of U.S. autos and auto parts.

On the final sticking point, having to do with measuring the proportion of Japanese parts in cars assembled in the United States, Japanese officials

succeeded in keeping a particularly tough method of measurement out of the trade agreement, according to a Japanese industry representative.The American Auto Labeling Act is despised by Japanese auto executives

because they believe it unfairly omits labor costs when judging whether a car or a part is "made in America."

When the fight over this detail came to light several weeks ago, U.S. officials insisted that their Japanese counterparts had agreed in principle to mention the labeling act in the agreement. Officials with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative were not immediately available Tuesday to comment on the report that the labeling act was left out of the final agreement.

The Japanese industry official said that U.S. trade negotiators will maintain that they still consider the labeling act one way to measure progress under the agreement, even though it is not mentioned.

The United States and Japan in the past have clung to different

interpretations of the trade agreements they sign, often leading to ongoing disputes that require new negotiations.

U.S. officials now maintain that they got something better than the explicit mention of the labeling act and other measurements of progress under the agreement - a phrase that broadly includes many different measures that, according to one U.S. official, will allow the United States to use the labeling act.