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Big Inventory Eases Sting of Penalty Tariffs

May 19, 1987|Associated Press

TOKYO — U.S. penalty tariffs on $300 million worth of Japanese electronic goods have had little or no effect on companies that had built up inventories in the United States or make the goods there, government and company officials said Monday.

Some Japanese companies have stopped shipments to the United States and are using up their U.S. inventory, hoping the tariffs end before their supply runs out.

The tariffs on certain personal computers, televisions and power tools affect only about one-third of 1% of all Japanese exports to the United States. They do not apply to goods made outside Japan.

Most seriously affected are companies with little inventory and no overseas production, some of which have lost as much as a quarter of their U.S. sales since the duties took effect April 17.

"So far, it's not a big financial problem for companies subject to the sanctions, except for personal computer makers--and they have from several weeks to several months' stock in the United States," said Junji Yoshiwara of the Ministry of International Trade and Ministry.

Japanese television makers have generally been unscathed by the tariffs because most have U.S. subsidiaries, he said. Computer and power tool makers are now scrambling to start or expand production in their American plants, he added.

President Reagan imposed the 100% tariffs last month, charging Japan with violating a 1986 agreement to open its home market wider to American-made semiconductors, and to stop "dumping" chips at unfairly low prices in third-country markets.

Japan denies breaching the pact.

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