U.S. Commerce Department presses forward with Japanese dumping investigation

FOND DU LAC, Wis.  The U.S. Department of Commerce has determined that an investigation into possible "dumping" practices by Japanese outboard- engine companies will begin immediately.

The Commerce Department's determination  issued Thursday as the International Trade Commission staff was conducting its initial conference in Washington, D.C., on import-caused injury  confirms that there is sufficient evidence supporting claims of illegal dumping by the Japanese outboard- engine manufacturing industry asserted by Mercury Marine in a petition filed Jan. 8 to launch a formal antidumping investigation. United States laws forbid dumping, which occurs when a country's industry sells products in the United States at prices significantly lower than in its own country.

Mercury's petition provides evidence that Japanese outboard-engine companies have engaged in illegal pricing activities in the U.S. for several years, and that they continue to do so. During the conference Thursday, parties presented evidence on the issues resulting from dumping.

A final ruling against the Japanese companies could result in import duties being imposed. The International Trade Commission is expected to announce a preliminary determination by Feb. 23.

Mercury Marine presented evidence at the ITC conference that Japanese underselling has resulted in a rapid increase in foreign market share, material harm to American companies and workers, and the threat of future injury. Additional evidence illustrated that Japanese underselling has suppressed and depressed domestic prices, and that price undercutting by Japanese engine companies has been especially aggressive with large boat builders and boat dealers.

"We are certainly gratified the Commerce Department's initial review determined there was sufficient evidence to warrant a full investigation," said Patrick C. Mackey, president of Mercury Marine. "However, we deeply regret that our Japanese competitors are encouraging Yamaha partners to divert attention away from the dumping issue by making unsupported derogatory comments, while the Commerce Department is beginning its investigation into the dumping.

"We reiterate that this is not an action that was undertaken lightly, but it is an issue that must be resolved. We feel a responsibility to our customers, shareholders and employees to bring to light activities contrary to U.S. trade laws, and we're confident the evidence will confirm our statements."

Mercury Marine is a division of Brunswick Corporation.