Relenting again? Half a year later, Japanese companies re-export key semiconductor materials to South Korea

In July 2019, the Japanese government stepped up export controls on three high-tech materials in South Korea, citing “significant damage to the relationship between Japan and South Korea,” a move that has strained relations between the two countries. As the Japanese government later adjusted its policies, the tension also eased. According to Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported on the 10th, located in Osaka, Japan, Morita Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. announced on the 10th, after the company due to the Japanese government to strengthen export restrictions on South Korea suspended the export business of hydrogen fluoride, after a six months to start operations again.

Original title: Relenting again? Half a year later, Japanese companies re-export key semiconductor materials to South Korea

Relenting again? Half a year later, Japanese companies re-export key semiconductor materials to South Korea

The matter was approved by the Japanese government on December 24, 2019 and officially shipped on the 8th of this month.

It is understood that hydrogen fluoride is used in semiconductor cleaning, Japanese enterprises in the manufacture of high purity hydrogen fluoride technology is more prominent. Previously, Morita Chemical provided the material to Korean semiconductor manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hi-Tech through a joint venture.

In July 2019, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry increased export controls on three high-tech materials in South Korea on the grounds that “japan-South Korea mutual trust relations have been significantly damaged”. Export-controlled products are fluoropolylamide, corrosion inhibitors and high-purity hydrogen fluoride, which are important raw materials in the smartphone, chip and other industries, and Japanese companies account for about 70 to 90 percent of global production.

As the semiconductor industry is a major industry in South Korea, it is expected to be severely affected by Japanese export restrictions.

In response, South Korea characterized Japan’s initiative as “economic retaliation” and proposed a number of measures, including the diversification of export markets, the localization of key technologies, the scale of domestic production equipment, and the recourse to the WTO. In an interview with Japan Economic News, Morita Chemical Industry President Yasuo Morita also said that the “share of Japanese companies is likely to decline” because of the strengthening of export management, showing a sense of crisis.

In December 2019, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said it would partially ease export restrictions on South Korea by simplifying procedures for the three products that have recently been restricted. That month, Japan and South Korea also resumed dialogue at the director level on export control issues. However, some analysts pointed out that although the two sides took the first step of dialogue, coupled with the United States coordination and other assistance, the possibility of temporary compromise, but in view of the existing historical problems, domestic public opinion pressure and lack of mutual trust and other factors, there is still uncertainty in the future.