WASHINGTON -- Low-cost, duty-free pickups built in Thailand won't be rolling off ships in U.S. ports any time soon.
Top U.S. trade officials and their Thai counterparts have held a half-dozen negotiating sessions on a proposed free-trade agreement.
But they have yet to take up the issue of cutting or eliminating the 25 percent U.S. tariff on imported pickups.
Interest groups on both sides address the tariff -- commonly called the "chicken tax" -- with urgency. The UAW and the Automotive Trade Policy Council, a group that represents General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler group on trade issues, warn that the proposed free-trade deal could threaten workers who build pickups in the United States.
The American International Automobile Dealers Association sent a delegation to Thailand for a round of trade talks in January to promote repeal of the chicken tax. AIADA leaders say they got an "exclusive" invitation to participate from top U.S. trade officials. That claim brought a protest from a bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers.