US says any auto curb by Japan needs legal grit

Any agreement limiting Japanese car imports to the United States would be jeopardized by private lawsuits unless the pact were backed by Japanese law, the US government said. The opinion, written by Attorney General William French Smith and released by Trade Representative Bill Brock, was released after the Japanese government said it had no plans to use legal powers to restrain car exports.

Meanwhile, West German Economic Affairs Minister Otto Lambsdorff told reporters in Washington that the US would trigger an international trade war if it imposed import quotas.

Earlier Japanese Trade Minister Ruhusuhe Tanaka told a government committee in Tokyo he hoped that Japanese carmakers would agree to restrict exports voluntarily.

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