The cost of the voluntary export restraint of Japanese automobile exports to the United States

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Virginia Tech

At the request of the United States Government, effective as of April 1, 1981, the Japanese began voluntarily restraining exports of automobiles to the United States to provide the U.S. automobiles industry with a period of time to make the necessary adjustment to become more competitive with imports.

It is the purpose of this paper to examine the impact of the VER, particularly the costs to consumers and the benefits to U.S. producers, quota rents captured by the Japanese producer during 1981-84 will also be examined.

Between 1981 and 1984 the Voluntary Export Restraint Agreement cost the U.S. economy $8.4 billion. In terms of increases in the cost of purchasing a car, the estimate ranges between $95 in 1981 to as high as $241 in 1984. E During the four years of the VER, the consumer costs : amounted to $8.9 billion. Meanwhile, the U.S. producers of automobile benefited only $403 million as a result of the VER. If this benefit is translated to the number of jobs saved, it amounts to 29,000 jobs. Therefore, the consumer cost of creating each new job was $334,000.

As for the impact of VER on the Japanese producers, the result shows that the price effects of the VER has increased over the four years as the restrictive effect of the VER has intensified. During 1981, the VER added $733 to the price of each Japanese automobile, but by 1984, it was adding about $2,000.