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Thursday, December 10, 2009

In the news

Taiwan's leaders say they want more respect on the international stage, but the actions of some of this country's companies aren't doing the island any favors. The Yomiuri Shimbun 読売新聞 has the report ("Taiwan firms scupper probe by FTC of intl LCD cartel", Daily Yomiuri ザ・デイリー読売):

"The Fair Trade Commission 公正取引委員会 has decided not to issue cease-and-desist orders to about 20 domestic and foreign firms suspected of forming an international cartel involving the sale of liquid crystal display panels for such products as TVs and cell phones, it has been learned. Ultimately, the FTC could not discover the whole truth behind its suspicions as Taiwan companies believed to be at the center of the cartel refused to cooperate with the FTC's investigation. It will officially end its probe when the statute of limitations expires in the middle of this month...The FTC launched its probe in December 2006 in tandem with U.S. and European authorities. It ordered about 20 companies suspected of forming a cartel in the Japanese market--including, in addition to Japanese manufacturers, two South Korean firms and three Taiwan firms--to submit information about such things as their customers and fluctuations in wholesale prices. Because the FTC cannot conduct searches of the overseas offices of foreign companies, it gave equal treatment to the domestic firms and did not conduct such inspections of them. The FTC furthered its investigation primarily through documents received as a result of the orders to provide information and questioning of company employees. However, the three Taiwan firms did not cooperate with the investigation. They did not, for example, assign lawyers to speak on their behalf. According to sources, the Taiwan firms took a leading role in the cartel in the Japanese market and even held meetings in T'aipei 台北."

Obviously, some laws need to modified in Japan, especially in light of the actions being undertaken by authorities in the United States and Europe:

"...the U.S. Justice Department had identified Ōsaka 大阪-based Sharp Corp. シャープ; Hitachi 日立 Displays Ltd., based in Chiyoda Ward 千代田区, Tōkyō 東京; and South Korea's LG Display Co. as members of this international price cartel and levied fines totaling 640 million dollars (¥56.5 billion/NT20.7 billion). The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, also identified this as a cartel of firms from South Korea, Taiwan and other countries in July and is planning to impose huge monetary sanctions soon."

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