Shippers, Ports Like
Cargo Data ServiceI read with interest your article, "New Forecasting Service for Ocean Trade Debuts" (JofC Sept. 2), describing a "first-time" offering of computerized historical and forecast ocean cargo data.
Wharton Econometrics of Philadelphia and Manalytics of San Francisco successfully launched a similar service two years ago. Since early 1985 they have been delivering, four times a year, bilateral trade data and forecasts in tons, current dollars, and TEU/FEU (20-foot equivalent container units/40-foot equivalent units) for 117 commodities, 54 trading partners and six U.S. coasts.
Shipping firms, ports and government agencies use this service and like it. The problems of mis-planning and overcapacity are so evident within the industry, it is no wonder that they do.
Roger C. Bird Vice President, Wharton EFA Director, World Economic Service Philadelphia
Tobacco War Article
We appreciate the efforts of your Tokyo Bureau chief to present both sides of the controversy between the United States and Japan with respect to sales of U.S. manufactured tobacco products in Japan, in his "U.S.-Japan Tobacco War Smoking" July 16.
There are, however, several points in the article that we feel do not adequately reflect the current situation in Japan.
Since 1980, Japan has undertaken a liberalization of its market for tobacco products culminating in legislation effective April 1985 that eliminated the 80-year-old government monopoly on the importation and distribution of tobacco products. Despite Mr. Cullison's reference to "high import tariffs" on cigarettes in Japan, the fact is that Japan's tariff is among the lowest of any industrialized country, lower even than that of the United States.
Restrictions on importation and distribution have been comprehensively eliminated, and there is no discrimination in the advertising or marketing of imported as opposed to domestic tobacco products.
Despite stagnant overall demand for cigarettes in Japan, the market share of imported cigarettes is growing at a rapid pace. Last year, U.S. cigarette manufacturers' sales rose 15 percent; during the first three months of the present fiscal year (April 1 to June 30) the pace accelerated to 44.8 percent as compared with the corresponding period in the previous year.
This healthy rate of growth shows the effects of Japan's liberalization, the cheaper dollar and the stepped-up marketing efforts of U.S. firms. By the same token, it clearly belies claims that the marketing activities of U.S. manufacturers are unfairly restricted.
The decision of the U.S. government to initiate a Section 301 investigation on tobacco products in Japan surprised and disappointed us in view of the recently completed liberalization measures. Nevertheless, the government of Japan has cooperated fully in the investigation, answering lengthy questionnaires from the Office of the United States Trade Representative and participating in several meetings to answer additional questions from U.S. government officials.
Discussions between the two governments have led to the identification of areas in which improvements can be made in the distribution of imported cigarette products, and progress is being made on a commercial level toward achievement of these improvements.
Japan Tobacco Inc. welcomes these changes. Our company is committed to free and open competition in Japan's tobacco market and looks forward to a resolution of the pending dispute on that basis.
Hideyuki Yanaka Manager Public Relations Division Japan Tobacco Inc. Tokyo, Japan