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U.S., Japanese Set to Discuss Microchip Pact

February 05, 1988|From Reuters

TOKYO — U.S. and Japanese officials will vent their growing mutual irritation in Washington talks next week over demands by American makers of microchips for better access to Japan's market.

Japanese trade officials are bridling at continued U.S. charges that Tokyo has failed to honor a 1986 pact on semiconductor trade.

Their U.S. counterparts have accused Japan of conducting a disinformation campaign to excuse a lack of compliance.

Last April, Washington imposed $300 million worth of sanctions on some Japanese exports in retaliation for Japan's alleged failure to abide by pledges to avoid selling microchips below cost overseas. Tokyo had also pledged to increase access to Japan for foreign companies.

The United States lifted some of the sanctions after finding that Japanese companies were no longer dumping chips, but $165 million worth of the levies remain in place because of continued dissatisfaction over access.

Despite the relatively small economic impact of the remaining sanctions, Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry is increasingly annoyed over what they imply.

"It's a matter of pride that they've accused us of not honoring a promise," said Junji Yoshihara, deputy director of MITI's industrial electronics division. "It is not constructive to blame us unilaterally."

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