Japanese chip makers suspect dumping by Korean firms

NEC Corp. Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. have declined to comment in detail on a newspaper report that they plan to file a complaint with the Japanese government accusing two South Korean companies of dumping DRAM (dynamic random access memory) chips in the Japanese market.

However, the four companies conceded that they are investigating measures to halt falling prices of DRAM, and one of the possible measures is filing a complaint, they said Wednesday.

A report in Wednesday morning's edition of Nihon Keizai Shimbun said the four companies intend to file a complaint against Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

"Considering how bad the current DRAM market is, dumping is definitely being done," said a NEC spokesman, who declined to give his name. "We are seeking every possible measure, including filing a complaint on dumping," he said.

Hitachi also conceded that it and the three other companies are in talks about possible legal procedures, said Masanao Sato, a Hitachi spokesman. However, he said "no comment" regarding the legal procedures in detail.

Mitsubishi Electric and Toshiba representatives said that they are investigating measures to cope with falling prices of DRAM and Mitsubishi Electric said filing a dumping suit is "one possibility."

Toshiba is still at the very first step of its investigation, said Toshiba's Kenichi Sugiyama. "The company feels it needs to take some kind of actions against the current DRAM market's condition, however, our investigation is still within the company and we are not singling out any South Korean companies alone but any company that is likely dumping the prices," he said.

South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. could not immediately be reached for comment.

The sluggish global DRAM market conditions will continue, according to market research company Dataquest Inc. The estimated US$31.5 billion worldwide sales for 2000 are expected to drop to $10.5 billion this year, and to $8.5 billion, said the company in the summary of a new report.

NEC, in Tokyo, can contacted at +81-3-3454-1111 and found online at http://www.nec-global.com/. Mitsubishi Electric Corp., in Tokyo, can be found contacted at +81-3-3218-2111 or found online at http://www.melco.co.jp/. Hitachi, in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-3258-1111 or found online at http://www.hitachi.co.jp/. Toshiba, in Tokyo, can be contacted at +81-3-3457-2105 or found online at http://www.toshiba.co.jp/.

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