The US is to begin imposing duties on Japanese vector supercomputers sold into the country by NEC Corp and Fujitsu Ltd after the US International Trade Commission found the two companies have been dumping their products – selling systems at less than fair value – and damaging the US market, principally the business of Cray Research Inc. The US department of commerce has previously ruled that NEC and Fujitsu were offering vector supercomputers for sale at prices 454% and 173% respectively, less than their real value. US customs will now collect duties on vector supercomputer systems NEC and Fujitsu sell into the US – whether they cost $1, $1m or $100m – which will only be returned when it can be determined that they’re selling systems at fair value. Cray, now owned by Silicon Graphics Inc, is the only remaining US manufacturer of vector supercomputers and has been fighting for this outcome since July last year. Cray has effectively argued that it would not be able to remain in business unless the decision went in its favor. Cray says it will now take its case to Europe, where it believes the Japanese vendors are also dumping systems, pointing to Fujitsu’s plan to accelerate supercomputer sales in that market (CI No 3,191), and in particular its sales to The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting in Reading, UK. NEC and its HNSX Supercomputers Inc US subsidiary say they regret the decision and maintain that the ITC’s finding of threat [to the US market] was based on Cray’s artificial definition of the supercomputing industry that included only supercomputers, ignoring the fact that non-vector systems produced by major supercomputer makers such as IBM and Convex are interchangeable with Cray vector systems. They think ITC also ignored testimony by the US National Center for Weather Research – whose planned purchase of an NEC triggered Cray’s anti-dumping complaint – that 90% of the equipment of the equipment offered by Cray was not available for testing, and that Cray proposed systems not yet developed. NEC observes US companies have sold 17 supercomputers to the Japanese government while no US government-funded agency has ever purchased Japanese supercomputers. NEC has appealed the ruling to the Federal Court of Appeals.
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