Fuji Film Co. denied it engaged in unfair trade practices to keep Eastman Kodak Co. out of Japanese markets, arguing Monday that Kodak’s small market share is the result of mismanagement.
U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor announced July 3 he was opening an investigation into Kodak charges that Fuji was unfairly limiting access to the Japanese market.
“Kodak’s petition is nothing more than a heavy-handed attempt to shift the blame for Kodak’s own poor management and performance in Japan from Kodak to the Japanese photographic industry and the Japanese government,” Fuji attorney Bill Ballinger said at a news conference.
But Kodak attorney Alan W. Wolff told reporters that because of a combination of Japanese government and private-sector actions, “large distributors will not accept our products.”
Kodak contends that Fuji maintains dominance in the Japanese film and photographic paper market by pressuring Japan’s four largest film wholesalers to keep rival products out of retail stores.