TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's International Trade Commission has levied duties of more than 60% against five DRAM manufacturers found earlier this year to be guilty of dumping chips on the island, according to a report in today's Taipei Times.
According to the report, the fines of 61.85% are preliminary and must be approved by Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs, which is expected to make a final decision sometime next month.
If the ruling stands, it will mark the first time the island has used trade channels to strike back against foreign rivals, particularly U.S. competitors which regularly press dumping charges against Taiwan's IC makers.
The latest suit, which was filed by the Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association and Taiwan's Ministry of Finance, alleged dumping by five DRAM makers with manufacturing facilities in the United States- Hyundai Electronics Industries, IBM Microelectronics, Micron Technology, NEC, and Samsung Electronics. Korea's Samsung owns a manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas, while Hyundai's subsidiary, Hyundai Semiconductor America, has a fab in Eugene, Ore. NEC Corp., of Japan, owns a DRAM fab in Roseville, Calif.
The suit alleged that the companies sold DRAM in Taiwan from 1997 to early 1999 for as much as 75% below cost.
If the duties stand, they're likely to have little effect on global pricing, or on prices in Taiwan for that matter, according to observers. Each of the companies named in the suit has extensive manufacturing operations outside the United States, and will be able to ship products to Taiwan from locations in Asia or Europe.
While five companies were named by the Taiwanese, observers widely believe that Micron was the suit's principal target. Earlier this year, at Micron's urging, the U.S. International Trade Commission found several Taiwanese DRAM makers guilty of dumping their chips in the United States. If the ITC concludes the island's IC suppliers hurt U.S. industry, it could levy tariffs as early as next month.