P.M. BRIEFING : U.S. May Take Japan to Task Over Slow Opening of Microchip Market

<i> From Times wire services </i>

Foot-dragging by Japan in the opening of its microchip market to foreigners will probably lead to a tougher U.S. trade stance, the president of the U.S. Semiconductor Industry Assn. said today.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry “is moving more slowly than it should,” Andrew Procassini told reporters.

As a result, Japan will probably be named a “priority” nation, requiring new negotiations and possible sanctions in accord with Section 301 of the U.S. Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act, he said.

U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills is expected to include Japan’s semiconductor market when she unveils a list of alleged unfair trade practices on April 30.


She will have 30 days from then to decide whether to name Japan a “priority” nation, a move that would oblige her to open special negotiations that could lead to retaliatory sanctions.

The United States already imposes 100% tariffs on $165 million worth of Japanese exports in retaliation for alleged failure to honor a pledge under a 1986 microchip pact to give foreign makers greater market access.