Foreign share of chip market in Japan rises

March 19, 1994|By New York Times News Service

TOKYO -- Foreign companies' share of Japan's semiconductor market surged to 20.7 percent, its highest level ever, in the fourth quarter of 1993, a development that could help defuse another potentially explosive trade dispute with the United States.

But the U.S. government and the American computer chip industry reacted coolly to the news, calling on Japan to take additional measures to ensure that progress continues.

"We are pleased to see an increase in foreign market share for the fourth quarter," said Mickey Kantor, the U.S. trade representative. "However, we remain concerned that U.S. and other foreign semiconductor suppliers are not achieving improved access to the Japanese market on a sustained basis."

The fourth-quarter share, announced by the two governments yesterday, rose more than expected from the 18.1 percent figure for the third quarter, as calculated by the U.S. government.

A 1991 trade agreement between the United States and Japan set a goal, though not a guarantee, that American and other non-Japanese chip makers would win 20 percent of Japan's roughly $20 billion semiconductor market by the end of 1992.

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