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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. automakers called on Congress to take action in response to the falling value of the Japanese yen, which they said has hurt their exports and was a good reason to keep Japan out of a proposed U.S.-led free trade pact.
"It's time for U.S. lawmakers to say they have had enough," American Automotive Policy Council President Matt Blunt said in a statement on Thursday, as the dollar rose to its highest value in over four years, blasting through the 100-yen mark.
The group represents the Detroit Three automakers Ford <F.N>, GM <GM.N> and Chrysler, a unit of the Italian automaker Fiat <FIA.MI>. It sees Japanese efforts to revive its economy through an expansionary monetary policy as a deliberate attempt to drive down the yen to bolster Japanese exports.
"The depth of Japanese currency manipulation has reached a new low. Japan's monetary policies aimed at weakening the yen continue to boost Japan's economy and exports at the expense of its trade partners, especially the United States," Blunt said.
Every time the yen weakens it "results in fewer American exports and jobs and is a further reason why Japan should not be included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership," he added.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a proposed free trade agreement between the United States and now 11 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region after Japan was welcomed into the talks last month.
President Barack Obama's administration is now consulting with Congress on negotiating objectives for Japan.
Tokyo won't participate in the 17th round of TPP talks scheduled this month in Lima, but is expected to join the negotiations at the 18th round in July.
U.S. automakers, particularly Ford, lobbied hard to keep Japan out of the TPP. Although that effort failed, the White House has promised tough negotiations to tackle regulatory and other "non-tariff" barriers that Detroit says have long kept U.S. autos out of the Japanese market.
(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)