WASHINGTON - The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has been given 90 days to reconsider the stiff dumping penalties it imposed in October 1997 on Japanese supercomputer makers.
The 454-percent duties against vector supercomputers exported by NEC Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. could be lifted after the Court of International Trade in New York overturned the ITC's finding that imports of Japanese supercomputers threaten to injure U.S. supercomputer-maker Cray Research Inc.
Judge Donald Pogue remanded the trade dispute back to the ITC for reconsideration of its finding that Japanese imports threaten to harm Cray. Pogue ruled that ITC failed to show a causal connection between the number of Japanese vector supercomputers sold in the United States and Cray's performance in the market.
Separate but similar?
Specifically, NEC and Fujitsu challenged the Commission's determination that vector supercomputers are a separate but similar, or "like," product and that U.S. producers are harmed by Japanese imports sold at less than fair value.
In his Dec. 15, 1998 opinion, sending the case back to the ITC, Pogue said the Commission must define what is a "domestic like product" and the "industry" that produces it.
"The ITC concluded that the domestic like product [were] vector supercomputers only, rather than all supercomputers," Pogue ruled.
"Our lawyers and Fujitsu's lawyers are huddling right now" to determine their next move, said a spokesman for HNSX (Littleton, Mass.), a U.S. subsidiary of NEC.
The Japanese companies are seeking a reversal of the U.S. antidumping penalties, he added.
If ITC finds that supercomputer imports do not threaten injury to Cray, the antidumping order will be lifted.
Officials at Cray Research and its parent company, Silicon Graphics Inc., were unavailable to comment last week on the ruling.