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April 21, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

In the computer business, it seems that Data General and Unisys, and to a much lesser extent, Grid Systems, are the main US victims of the $300m of Japanese imports that now bear a 100% import tariff under the sanctions on Japanese chipmakers that were duly imposed by President Reagan on Friday. The sanctions, which effectively price Japanese-built lap-top and 16-bit personal computers out of the US market, were imposed in retaliation for alleged failure of the Japanese to keep the trade agreement on semiconductors. Data General is particularly hurt because its Data General One lap-top computer is built only by its 100% Japanese subsidiary Nippon Data General. Unisys is caught in the crossfire because all its IBM Personalikes come from Mitsubishi – a few are also sold on to Memorex Corp; Unisys will now have to take a view on how long the tariffs are likely to remain in force before seeking an alternate source of Personals. Grid is hurt because it announced only two weeks ago that it would be marketing the Toshiba T3100 AT-alike as the Grid-286 (CI No 660). Wang Laboratories sells portables made by Brother, while Zenith Electronics sells ones manufactured by Sanyo. Japanese manufacturers who will bear the brunt on the computer side are Epson, whose Equity Personalikes are big sellers in the US; NEC, which has made some inroads with its Advanced Personal Computer line, and just made it fully IBM-compatible; and, to a lesser extent, Matsushita with its Panasonic Personalikes, and Fujitsu, which sells a few microcomputers of various kinds in the US. Shintaro Abe, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone’s special trade envoy, will meet President Reagan this week to discuss the sanctions; his request for a lifting of the tariffs is expected to get a dusty answer; they are expected to remain in force for at least three months. The tariffs will of course have no direct effect on Japanese machines in Europe, except that the affected manufacturers are likely to redouble efforts here to plug the gap in their US sales.

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