LONDON Japan has come up with a figure of 27.2 percent as the level of import duty to be levied on DRAM chips made by South Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor Inc., according to an Associated Press report which referenced the South Korean government as its source. However, a final decision on whether to impose the duty has not be taken, and the two countries are expected to hold talks soon, the report said.
Japan has been investigating for some time whether to impose tariffs on DRAM chips made by Hynix, which dates back to alleged illegal subsidies related to debts run up by Hynix in the early part of this decade.
Japan followed the United States and the European Union in considering whether the conversion of these debts into equity stakes by banks and investors constituted the propping up of a failed company and amounted to illegal South Korean government subsidies. The U.S. and Europe imposed tariffs in the 44.7 percent and 33 percent ranges, respectively, although these were contested before the World Trade Organization by South Korea.
The WTO overturned its own ruling against the U.S. tariffs in June, which has apparently given a green light for Japan to press its case against Hynix.
South Korea has been notified by Japan that tariffs have been calculated at a rate of 27.2 percent but that a final decision on their implementation is not planned until February 2006, according to the report, which cited an unnamed South Korean Foreign Ministry official as its source. The two countries are expected to enter into talks on the pending tariffs by Dec. 9, the report said.
Hynix issued a statement saying it had been informed of Japan's plans to levy tariffs, the report said.
Taiwan was another country that said it was considering imposing tariffs on Hynix DRAMs but which took no further steps in the early part of the decade.