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Senate Urges Retaliation Against Japan

March 20, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — The Senate overwhelmingly adopted a resolution Thursday calling on President Reagan to retaliate against Japan for violating an agreement not to dump computer chips at below-market prices.

The resolution, approved on a 93-0 vote, stressed that Japan had repeatedly broken a Sept. 2, 1986, pact in which it promised to open its markets to U.S.-made semiconductors and at the same time not dump its products in this country and other markets.

It called on Reagan to retaliate by taking steps that would penalize Japan but also "serve to increase, rather than restrict, international semiconductor trade and be aimed at enforcing" the September agreement.

Concern about trade in the semiconductor field has grown recently, and many lawmakers and experts have argued that the national security of the United States will be harmed if Japanese manufacturers, with the help of their government, are allowed to dominate the world and American markets.

Semiconductors, also known as computer chips, are crucial elements of many products, ranging from household appliances to sophisticated weapons systems.

The U.S. semiconductor industry has complained to the Reagan Administration that the Japanese have not lived up to the agreement. The Commerce Department is investigating the complaints but has not announced its findings.

"It is now time to end the harm that will inevitably occur if they do not live up to the agreement," said Sen. Pete Wilson (R-Calif.), the main sponsor of the resolution.

Wilson said it was "time to retaliate," adding: "We cannot simply turn the other cheek and continue to preach platitudes on free trade . . . which no longer exists in the world, if it ever did."

"If the United States is going to maintain credibility in our trade policy, it must respond vigorously when agreements" are broken, added Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia.

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