EC CENSURES THE US AND JAPAN ON TELECOMMUNICATION TRADE

EC CENSURES THE US AND JAPAN ON TELECOMMUNICATION TRADE

The European Community Commission attacked the United States and Japan for their trading practices in the booming telecommunications business.

Japan has a derisory level of imports and the U.S. Congress is pursuing protectionist policies, said EC Vice President Karl-Heinz Narjes, who is responsible for the community's telecommunications sector.He warned of serious trade conflicts if the United States adopted protectionist measures in its omnibus trade bill and if Japan failed to open its market to European telecommunications companies.

Mr. Narjes' remarks at a forum of international telecommunications officials underlined the EC's determination to seek better opportunities in foreign markets as it begins its campaign to open Europe's tightly regulated telecommunications markets to greater competition.

The commission wants all 12 EC member states to permit competition by the end of 1990 in the sale of telephones, switchboards and computer modems and in other terminal equipment by the end of 1992.

Most EC countries now restrict the sale of these products to their state- owned telephone monopolies.

But Mr. Narjes stressed that non-EC suppliers could not expect to benefit

from European deregulation without opening their markets to European firms.

Europe will become the largest and most lucrative telecommunications market in the world over the next 20 years, Mr. Narjes said. In 1986, the EC accounted for $20.4 billion of the $108 billion spent worldwide on telecommunications equipment.

Another $360 billion is spent annually on global telecommunications services, for which the EC constitutes $75 billion of the market.

Mr. Narjes said that while the EC rang up a $3.2 billion trade surplus in sales of telecommunications equipment worldwide in 1986, it suffered a $620 million deficit in telecommunications trade with the United States and a $685 million deficit in trade with Japan.

The United States enjoyed that surplus because the EC opened its markets and took in U.S. products, while at the same time Congress is talking about protectionist legislation, he said.