November 16, 2018 / 12:31 AM / a month ago

China probes Japan manufacturers over dumping: companies

TOKYO (Reuters) - China’s Ministry of Commerce is investigating alleged dumping of machine tools by Japanese manufacturers including industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp (6954.T) and machinery maker Brother Industries Ltd (6448.T), the latter said on Friday.

Yamazaki Mazak, a small Japanese electronics components maker, said it was also under investigation after the Nikkei Asian Review earlier reported that China was probing the three along with Jtekt Corp (6473.T) and Okuma Corp (6103.T), as well as Taiwanese machine tool makers and Chinese trading houses.

The probe began following a request from Beijing Jingdiao Group and two other machinery manufacturers involved in smartphone components, the Nikkei said, adding that Fanuc denied any wrongdoing.

Fanuc said it could not immediately comment on the investigation when contacted by Reuters.

Brother Industries and Yamazaki Mazak said they were cooperating with the investigation and denied any wrongdoing.

A Brothers Industries spokesman said the Japanese targets of the probe had been narrowed down this month to three companies.

“Our understanding is that we have not engaged in dumping,” he said, adding that the inquiry is due to end by October 2019.

The move comes as Chinese and U.S. trade officials set tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of each other’s goods, with U.S. President Donald Trump considering more tariffs unless their trade dispute is resolved.

China has been trying to forge closer ties with Japan, last month signing a currency swap agreement and agreeing to work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Tariffs or other measures will be imposed should the authorities conclude that the companies engaged in dumping, the Nikkei reported.

The ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters’ faxed request for comment. Beijing Jingdiao was not available for comment. Okuma said it was not being investigated. Jtekt said it did not export to China the products in question.

Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru, Ritsuko Ando in Tokyo; Editing by Sam Holmes and Himani

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