Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige has promised to speed up a government investigation into the dumping practices of Japanese portable electric typewriter manufacturers.
SCM Corporation, the only remaining American manufacturer of portable electrics, has filed suit with Commerce, complaining that unfairly priced Japanese competition may drive it out of the typewriter business. Previous investigations have found the Japanese to be selling below cost - but penalty duties were light, as the infractions were ruled to be relatively minor.
SCM claims the situation is worse than Commerce thinks. At a meeting last week with SCM chairman Peter H. Elicker, Secretary Baldrige pledged to speed the follow-up investigation to a conclusion by April. He also re-affirmed that antidumping laws would be strictly enforced.
At times, the federal government has done little but ''tut-tut'' and wave its finger at dumpers. In the mid 1970s, a frustrated Congress took the unusual step of removing antidumping enforcement from the Treasury Department and giving it to Congress.