WASHINGTON — The federal government must assure U.S. electronics manufacturers that they will be protected from marketing policies in Japan before the next generation of television technology can develop in this country, Congress was told today.
U.S. manufacturers of TV receivers and VCRs were driven out of business in the 1960s and 1970s primarily because of price-slashing, collusion and so-called dumping of low-priced Japanese TV sets in this country, said Clyde Prestowitz, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Faced with the possibility of that kind of competition from the Japanese again, U.S. manufacturers may be reluctant to enter the burgeoning era of high-definition television, Prestowitz said.
"It was the marketing factors that were the most important ones in the demise of the U.S. industry," Prestowitz told the second day of a House subcommittee hearing on what government policy should be regarding HDTV in the next century.
At the same time, Prestowitz said, the U.S. government must tread carefully in any effort to protect the U.S. electronics industry because U.S. companies also are trying to enter foreign markets.
"We might consider some reciprocity requirement," conditioning foreign participation in U.S. efforts to develop HDTV on the possibility of U.S. participation overseas.
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