LAUNCH OF AN ECONOMIC COLD WAR

HOWEVER THE AUTO BATTLE TURNS OUT, THE U.S. AND JAPAN ARE HEADING INTO AN ERA OF SHARPER ECONOMIC STRAIN

So once again, headlines warn of a trade war between the U.S. and Japan--as they have so many, many times in the past 30-odd years. So what else is new?

So, plenty. For one thing, this time it might really happen: the Clinton Administration swears it is dead serious about slapping penalty tariffs on Japanese luxury cars Wednesday. The announcement over the weekend that U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor and his Japanese counterpart, Ryutaro Hashimoto, will meet Monday in Geneva may increase the prospects of an eleventh-hour deal to expand sales of U.S. auto parts to Japan and keep the penalties...

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