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U.S. tech industry voices concerns over Japan’s export restrictions against S. Korea

U.S. tech industry voices concerns over Japan’s export restrictions against S. Korea

Posted July. 25, 2019 07:35,   

Updated July. 25, 2019 07:35


U.S. tech industry has issued a letter to both South Korea and Japan, expressing their concern over the Seoul-Tokyo trade row, and urging the two nations to negotiate a resolution to the dispute. This is the first time the U.S. tech industry officially stated its views on Japan’s retaliatory economic measures against South Korea.

Against this backdrop, South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee, who is currently visiting the U.S., is going to meet with U.S. political and government figures to persuade them into supporting South Korea in the trade row, highlighting the fact that two South Korean tech giantsㅡ Samsung Electronics and SK Hynixㅡsupply as much as 72 percent of the global DRAM demand.

Six U.S. tech associations, including the Semiconductor Industry Association, National Association of Manufacturers, and Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International on Wednesday sent an open letter to South Korean Trade Minister Yoo and Japanese Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko. In the letter, the associations asked both countries to promptly find a solution to the current issue in order not to inflict long-term damage to the global ICT and manufacturing industries and to refrain from aggravating the situation.

The letter also said the global ICT industry and global manufacturing supply chain are intertwined and rely on the system, where components, materials, and technologies can be supplied effectively in case of necessity. It stressed that South Korea and Japan play an important role in such global value chain.

In the letter, the associations warned Japan that its retaliatory measures would eventually work against the nation. “Non-transparent and unilateral changes in export control policies can cause supply chain disruptions, delays in shipments, and ultimately long-term harm to the companies that operate within and beyond your borders and the workers they employ,” the letter wrote.

The SIA, which took the initiative in issuing the letter, is regarded as the most influential group in the U.S. tech industry. The association, which consists of five leading U.S. semiconductor companies, such as Intel, Qualcomm, and Micron Technology, would come with a self-protecting policy whenever the U.S. chip industry was in crisis. According to an industry source, the SIA took the initiative during the U.S.-Japan trade friction in the 1980s, when the U.S. imposed a pressure on Japanese semiconductor companies for about 10 years, and it could take concrete action this time as well.

Hye-Ryung Choi herstory@donga.com · Keun-Hyung Yoo noel@donga.com