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"Buy local" policies blasted

Tariffs and "buy local" policies are the greatest barriers to global high-tech trade, according to a survey of 420 executives in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Tariffs and "buy local" policies are the greatest barriers to global high-tech trade, according to a new survey of executives on three continents.

In a survey by international consulting and accounting company Coopers & Lybrand, 420 executives in Asia, Europe, and the United States shared similar concerns, though the severity of various barriers ranked differently depending on the region.

Asian executives, for example, said tariffs were the largest obstacle to entering the global market. Quality and safety standards ranked second and "buy local" policies third.

Americans agreed with their Asian counterparts that tariffs were the number-one barrier, but ranked "buy local" policies second and local distribution requirements third.

Some large American semiconductor manufacturers have been accused of refusing to share "shelf," or distribution channels, with their Asian counterparts. Tempers and rhetoric flared last month when Bell Industries, a distributor based in Los Angeles, accused National Semicondutor of ending their 20-year relationship after Bell agreed to distribute chips from Korean manufacturer Samsung. Bell called National Semi "hypocritical" for pressuring the Japanese to open their semiconductor market while working to foil Asian inroads into the American market.

In Europe, where national trade barriers have begun to fall within the 15-member European Union, executives cited "buy local" policies as the biggest barrier to global trading. Tariffs and currency restrictions ranked second and third, respectively.

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