Concession Cuts Red Tape for U.S. Manufacturers : Japan Eases Rules on Phone Gear

March 19, 1985|PENNY PAGANO | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — American telecommunications exporters will not have to submit proprietary data to any Japanese agency and will be able to certify themselves that their goods meet Japan's technical standards, Under Secretary of Commerce Lionel H. Olmer said Monday.

"That's a major, major accommodation" by the Japanese, Olmer told a meeting of the Electronics Industry Assn.

U.S. negotiators have been concerned about Japanese proposals that would have made it practically impossible for the American companies to satisfy product-certification requirements.

Olmer, who returned Sunday night from his second trip to Japan in 10 days, has been negotiating with the Japanese to modify several laws that are scheduled to take effect April 1, when the government's telephone monopoly, Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., becomes a private company.

He also said that, as recently as two weeks ago, the Japanese had proposed that as many as four different Japanese agencies have some say about whether a foreign product could be sold in the Japanese marketplace. "We could truly see the prospect of an endless round and round and round" for American companies, Olmer said.

Since then, he said, "we have been advised that there will be a single approval agency and that that agency will approve NTT's products as well--another major accommodation of our interest."

Olmer said efforts also will be made by the Japanese to prevent the government from offering any special subsidies to the new private Japanese telecommunications company.

"We have been given the documentation," Olmer said, "but we've not yet had the chance to analyze it."

The U.S. trade official said that, while the Japanese have made a serious effort to accommodate U.S. interests, there are still genuine philosophical differences about how the two governments and their respective cultures view subjects such as deregulation.

"If we do not succeed by our standards of equivalent access by April 1, we deserve the result, because we know what our telecommunications companies require, and the Japanese know what we are asking for," he said.

Olmer also told the electronics industry gathering that he is unhappy with the amount of support he has received from U.S. industries and asked for increased technical assistance.

"Not everyone in the Administration is bulging with technical understanding of bits per second," he said. He also noted that the Commerce Department's budget for translating 75 ministerial ordinances has been exhausted.

"We need more support from you, more technical help," he said.

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