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Fuji-Kodak Is Latest Trade Dispute

U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor is expected to announce Monday a U.S. government probe of charges by Eastman Kodak Co. that the Japanese government is “tolerating” anti-competitive practices in photographic film and paper.

The investigation, likely to take months, would center on Kodak’s claim that Fuji Photo Film Co., with the tacit approval of Japanese government agencies, is blocking its access to Japanese film and paper distributors.

Only 15 percent of Japan’s photographic film retail outlets carries its products, Kodak asserts.

Kodak’s share of Japan’s color film markets is less than 10 percent, far lower than its share of other markets around the world, it states.

Since 1975, Kodak contends, unfair Japanese practices have caused it about $6 billion in lost sales.

The U.S. probe would be carried out under section 301 of U.S. trade law, which authorizes sanctions against nations restricting or otherwise “burdening” U.S. exports.

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