Who's for another trade war? Japan hits South Korea, Seoul survivor promises to retaliate

Movement of LEDs and chipmaking gubbins to be slowed


The Japanese government has announced it will remove South Korea from its list of trusted export destinations, adding fuel to the fire of the ongoing trade conflict between the two countries.

The so-called "white list" – or Group A – consists of 27 countries free to import goods that have both civilian and military applications, and includes Australia, the UK and the US.

The sudden downgrade is scheduled to come into effect near the end of the month – on 28 August.

South Korea is the only nation to ever be removed from the list.

Naturally, Seoul has pledged to retaliate by striking Japan off a similar list of its own. "It is the Japanese government that is responsible for worsening the situation," South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a televised speech. "We will never lose to Japan again. We can beat Japan."

aerial shot of sk hynix flash fab

SK Hynix to cut DRAM production, investment as profit declines 89%

READ MORE

The existing export controls, announced in July, ostensibly imposed over a row about Japan's wartime conduct, were recently highlighted by two Korean memory manufacturers, Samsung and SK Hynix, as a growing threat to their businesses.

The products affected by controls included "fluorinated polyimides, used to make organic light-emitting diode displays; resistors used in semiconductor production; and hydrogen fluoride, used as an etching gas in chipmaking," according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

"We cannot rule out production disruption if Japanese export controls drag on," Jin-Seok Cha, head of SK Hynix's finance and procurement, said during an earnings call last week.

The fact that South Korea is removed from the "white list" will not stop shipments of semiconductor parts – but from August, they might face lengthy delays on the border. South Korean leaders think this could be used as a political tool.

Any further disruption of technology components is likely to impact memory prices again: Samsung and SK Hynix are two of the world's largest memory manufacturers, and are already being pummelled by the killer combo of the trade war between the US and China and global memory oversupply.

The trade conflict between Japan and South Korea kicked off in June, and was seen as a response to a ruling by a South Korean court that Japanese companies should pay compensation for using forced labour during the Second World War. Japan insists that the issue was dealt with when diplomatic relations with South Korea were re-established in the 1960s.

The two countries are also engaged in a 300-year-old territorial dispute over a scattering of tiny islands in the Sea of Japan.

Tokyo said the latest move had nothing to do with historical grudges, but was rather motivated by current national security concerns.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo previously called on the two countries to bury the hatchet, and will attempt to mediate a meeting between their foreign ministers later this week. ®

Broader topics

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Tesla driver charged with vehicular manslaughter after deadly Autopilot crash

    Prosecution seems to be first of its kind in America

    A Tesla driver has seemingly become the first person in the US to be charged with vehicular manslaughter for a deadly crash in which the vehicle's Autopilot mode was engaged.

    According to the cops, the driver exited a highway in his Tesla Model S, ran a red light, and smashed into a Honda Civic at an intersection in Gardena, Los Angeles County, in late 2019. A man and woman in the second car were killed. The Tesla driver and a passenger survived and were taken to hospital.

    Prosecutors in California charged Kevin George Aziz Riad, 27, in October last year though details of the case are only just emerging, according to AP on Tuesday. Riad, a limousine service driver, is facing two counts of vehicular manslaughter, and is free on bail after pleading not guilty.

    Continue reading
  • AMD returns to smartphone graphics with new Samsung chip for your pocket computer

    We're back in black

    AMD's GPU technology is returning to mobile handsets with Samsung's Exynos 2200 system-on-chip, which was announced on Tuesday.

    The Exynos 2200 processor, fabricated using a 4nm process, has Armv9 CPU cores and the oddly named Xclipse GPU, which is an adaptation of AMD's RDNA 2 mainstream GPU architecture.

    AMD was in the handheld GPU market until 2009, when it sold the Imageon GPU and handheld business for $65m to Qualcomm, which turned the tech into the Adreno GPU for its Snapdragon family. AMD's Imageon processors were used in devices from Motorola, Panasonic, Palm and others making Windows Mobile handsets.

    Continue reading
  • Big shock: Guy who fled political violence and became rich in tech now struggles to care about political violence

    'I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy,' billionaire VC admits

    Billionaire tech investor and ex-Facebook senior executive Chamath Palihapitiya was publicly blasted after he said nobody really cares about the reported human rights abuse of Uyghur Muslims in China.

    The blunt comments were made during the latest episode of All-In, a podcast in which Palihapitiya chats to investors and entrepreneurs Jason Calacanis, David Sacks, and David Friedberg about technology.

    The group were debating the Biden administration’s response to what's said to be China's crackdown of Uyghur Muslims when Palihapitiya interrupted and said: “Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay? ... I’m telling you a very hard ugly truth, okay? Of all the things that I care about … yes, it is below my line.”

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022