TOKYO — Four Japanese semiconductor makers Wednesday denied the U.S. Commerce Department's allegation that they were selling computer memory chips in the United States below their production costs.
Fujitsu, Hitachi, Toshiba and NEC commented in separate statements reacting to the Commerce Department's preliminary ruling Tuesday concerning the computer chips.
The semiconductors--erasable programmable read-only memory chips, or EPROMs--are a major component in computers and telecommunications equipment. U.S. imports totaled $168.9 million in 1984, the Commerce Department said.
The Commerce Department said a final ruling is expected by May 27. A final finding that Japanese manufacturers were flooding U.S. markets with low-cost chips could lead to high tariffs on the products.
U.S. semiconductor makers filed the complaint with the Commerce Department last September, claiming that the Japanese companies were selling the chips at below-production costs to force U.S. companies out of the market.
Taro Okabe, general manager of Fujitsu's international sales support division, said the preliminary ruling was "highly regrettable."
He said his company "cannot but suspect that the ruling was the result of an irrational method of calculation" in investigating pricing of Fujitsu products made in the United States.
Fujitsu is the only Japanese company producing memory chips at a U.S. subsidiary--Fujitsu Micro-Electronics in San Diego. Okabe said he hoped that his company would not have to reconsider future operations of the subsidiary, which has more than 700 employees.
Seiji Igarashi, an NEC spokesman, said his company would submit accounts if necessary to show "it is doing a fair business." He said his company refused to do so when the Commerce Department conducted its inquiry because NEC has only a small percentage of Japan's share of chip sales in the United States.
He said Fujitsu and Hitachi account for nearly 80% of all Japanese reprogrammable computer chips sold in the United States.