"This is particularly unfortunate in light of its recent announcement to open opportunities for U.S. autos to qualify for its program, which was a welcome step," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement demanding further changes to Japan's scrappage scheme.
The Japanese government had previously decided to exclude all U.S. vehicles from its eco automotive program. After U.S. lawmakers and automotive complained about this, the Japanese officials decided to change the rules and accept U.S. cars but only “under certain conditions”. The situation was especially delicate because Japanese cars have been included in U.S.’s program and have managed to account for 50 percent of the sales perfected through it.
According to Kirk, the list of eligible U.S. models released earlier this week by Tokyo failed to meet expectations as it used U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “city” mileage ratings, instead of “combined city/highway” mileage ratings.
"We will continue to urge Japan to implement its program in a manner that is transparent and as inclusive of U.S. autos as possible. We will also continue to monitor developments closely to ensure U.S. autos indeed benefit from Japan's 'cash-for-clunkers' program," Kirk was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The issue might affect the two countries' trading policies.