Tough Tangle over Trade

Reagan ponders a restriction on Japanese car imports

Should the U.S. attempt to rescue its auto industry by restricting the import of Japanese-made cars? That was the knotty question that faced President Reagan last week. The Governors of eight auto-producing states, led by William Milliken of Michigan, met with the President in the White House to ask for negotiations toward a "voluntary" Japanese reduction of auto imports. Meanwhile, the Reagan Cabinet, at a meeting last week, split into sharply divided groups over the issue of import controls.

The issue is a thorny one for Reagan. Although philosophically a free trader, the President, during...

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