Japanese and U.S. electronics associations ended joint talks here Thursday with an agreement to establish a working committee to facilitate U.S. electronics sales to Japan.
At a news conference yesterday, officials of both the Electronic Industries Association of Japan and the American Electronics Association agreed that the imbalance in electronics trade between the two countries was a major problem, but that both sides should avoid resorting to protectionism.
EIAJ chairman Akio Morita said the working committee created during the day-long conference between the AEA and EIAJ will attempt to minimize barriers to the Japanese market for U.S. electronic products. But he said the two sides had reached only a basic agreement on the establishment of the committee, and that further discussions were needed to decide how it would function.
Morita, chairman of Sony Corp., said Japan "must try to increase its purchases of foreign goods, but this will take our joint efforts over a considerable period of time."
Stephen R. Levy, chairman-elect of the American electronics group, said his association was pleased by the discussions with the Japanese, but believed there was "a long way to go to achieve the kind of trade environment that we both would like."
Levy said that U.S. electronics products were "extremely competitive," and if given an "equal and open opportunity" in the Japanese market, would compete effectively. "We don't believe we're seeking a free ride. What we're seeking is free trade," he said.
But Levy said the AEA "realizes that our $15 billion electronics trade deficit in 1984 is due to a combination of complex interrelated factors, market access being only one of those factors." The group represents 2,800 U.S. companies.
The other factors, he said, include the U.S. budget deficit and higher interest rates, and the resulting high value of the dollar, which makes U.S. products more expensive overseas.
AEA Vice President Ralph Thomson said he was "extremely disappointed" by the low level of purchases of U.S. telecommunications equipment by Japan's recently denationalized telephone company, Nippon Telephone & Telegraph, which he said bought less from the United States last year than it did the previous year.