The US Commerce Department has imposed hefty punitive tariffs on Japanese supercomputer makers NEC and Fujitsu, after finding them guilty of dumping machines on the market for unfairly low prices.
The action followed a decision the day before by the Court of International Trade, which vindicated an anti-dumping complaint brought by US supercomputer maker Cray Research, now owned by Silicon Graphics.
The Department said NEC and Fujitsu had offered vector computers for sale in the US at prices below than their "fair value", which in US law is defined as the cost of design, development, marketing and manufacturing. It found that NEC had offered its products at 454 per cent less than fair value, and Fujitsu at 173 per cent. These figures will now be the level of punitive tariffs set on future sales.
Some analysts said the tariffs were unusually high but the Commerce Department denied any national bias and pointed out that the two supercomputer makers declined to participate in its investigations after the preliminary hearing.
The final ruling in the long drawn out case will come from the International Trade Commission, which must rule that there was injury to the US industry in order to confirm the tariffs. That judgement will be made within 45 days.
Cray's action was sparked a year ago when it lost a major deal with the National Science Foundation to NEC.
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