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ELMSFORD, NY, June 13, 1996-- Fujifilm today called the U.S. Trade Representative's decision to shift some of the most significant aspects of the trade dispute involving Fujifilm and Eastman Kodak Co. to the World Trade Organization "a positive development in this very complex case" and predict that Fujifilm will be "vindicated" in the world body.
"This decision averts a major trade conflict over a groundless complaint, but the USTR should have dismissed this case," said Masayuki Muneyuki , Senior Managing Director of Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. "The facts prove that Kodak has no business asking the U.S. Government to make up for its mistakes in Japan. The USTR's finding that the Japanese market is somehow closed is totally unjustified.
"All along, we sought to have this case submitted to neutral forum. The administration did that in part, and I have absolute confidence that our position will be vindicated by the WTO," Muneyuki said. "We stated consistently that the facts showed Kodak has no case, and now the USTR has accepted our repeated calls for the facts to be aired in a neutral forum."
Eastman Kodak Co. filed a Section 301 petition with the USTR in May of last year, claiming competitive problems in Japan. Since that time, Fujifilm has exposed as false every significant claim in Kodak's case, and consistently called for neutral determination of the facts about the Japanese market.
"Fujifilm has always been an honorable, fair competitor in Japan, the United States, and around the world," said Osamu "Sam" Inoue, President of Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc. "In rejecting trade confrontation, USTR has recognized the contribution that Fujifilm and its thousands of employees make here in the United States. Fujifilm is looking forward to getting back to business and focusing on what we do best -- providing consumers around the world with the very best photographic products."
Fujifilm lawyer Bill Barringer said "Kodak has brought enormous political pressure to bear on this case, but cannot and will not be able to support its claims when it is required to back them up. That is why Kodak tried to block all efforts at neutral fact-finding and multilateral review in this case.
"We do not relish continuing this time-consuming, onerous process, but we recognize the difficult position in which the administration finds itself," Barringer said. "We are glad that we are closer to a final conclusion that will prove a fundamental principle: the best way to sell film is to work hard at it, not to chase after political substitutes for honest competition."
Thomas H. Shay
Fuji Photo Film U.S.A., Inc.
Edelman Public Relations