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U.S. Chip Makers Ask Reagan to Press Japan

Associated Press

Domestic manufacturers of semiconductors urged President Reagan on Friday to press Japan to open its $7-billion market more widely to their products, complaining that industry efforts to make inroads in Japan have been fruitless.

The Semiconductor Industry Assn. filed a petition with Michael B. Smith, the acting U.S. trade representative, asking the President to open talks with the Japanese government.

The group took advantage of a new trade law adopted last year that provides for U.S. businesses to seek government retaliation against a country if the President finds that it has denied an industry fair access to its markets. Before, businesses only could ask retaliation if the country refused benefits to the United States under a trade agreement or put unjustifiable burdens on U.S. trade.

The President is free to deny petitions and often has.

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Gary Tooker, chairman of the Semiconductor Industry Assn., told reporters before filing the petition that efforts to open the Japanese market have been fruitless and that more forceful action is needed.

“Our share of the Japanese semiconductor market continues to decline and serious dumping problems in the U.S. are now emerging,” he said.

In a statement telexed from Japan to Washington, Akio Morita, chairman of the Electronic Industries Assn. of Japan, said the petition was unjustified.

“The Japanese semiconductor market, along with that of the United States, is the most open market in the world, offering free access to trade and investment,” he said.

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The petition asked the President to open talks with Japan to:

- Urge Japanese companies to buy more semiconductors from the United States.

- Develop a new formula to calculate whether the Japanese are selling their computer chips in the United States at prices below production costs.

- Improve the collection of data on the industry.

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- Take steps to ensure that the market for computer chips in Japan responds freely to market forces.


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