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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 12:45 GMT 13:45 UK
Asian TV trade war looms in US
A TV store attendant watches a broadcast by President Bush
Imports from Asia are common in TV stores
Chinese and Malaysian TV makers are facing an investigation by US trade authorities into allegations of dumping cut-price goods on the US market.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) voted to uphold a complaint by a Tennessee-based TV manufacturer and two labour unions.

They want the US government to impose an 84% increase in import duties on 'made-in-China' TV sets, and a 46% penalty on Malaysian ones.

But any final decision on whether the complaint was justified could still be more than a year away.

Taking on big names

The ITC's decision paves the way for a further two investigations running in tandem, one by itself and the other by the US Commerce Department.

Extra duties will only be imposed if those bodies rule in favour of penalties.

TVs made by multinational consumer electronics firms Philips, Samsung, Panasonic, Sharp and Sony were listed in the complaint about Malaysia, Reuters news agency reported.

The list of possible offenders also included China's biggest colour TV maker, Sichuan Changhong, which is one of the country's best known brands for household electrical goods and buys TV tubes from Japanese firm Toshiba.

Union fears

The ITC found that there was "a reasonable indication" that a US industry was being materially injured by the imports.

The complaint highlighted a 1,100% increase in imports of TV sets from China and Malaysia from 2000 to 2002 which it said was due to unfair pricing.

US firms made 65% of the TVs sold in their home market in 2002, the ITC said.

Imports from China and Malaysia were worth half a billion US dollars, compared to a combined total of $4.2bn in sales from other countries.

China, Malaysia and Mexico are the top TV exporters to the US.

The complaint was brought by Five Rivers Electronic Innovations of Tennessee and two electronic workers unions, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Communication Workers of America's Industrial Division.

US labour unions have long warned that competition from East Asia, particularly China, could cost US jobs.

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