WASHINGTON ( ChipWire/EET) -- The United States will not impose dumping duties on DRAMs made in Taiwan following a 3-1 vote today by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which stated that imports from Taiwan of 1-megabit and higher-density memories do not injure the U.S. memory industry.
The ruling was a stunning reversal for petitioner Micron Technology Inc. of Boise, Idaho, which had earlier convinced the Commerce Department that Taiwan was selling memory products in the United States below cost.
"This case didn't have any merit from the beginning," said Ken Hurley, president of Nanya Technology Corp. USA of San Jose, Taiwan's chief witness in the dumping case. Semiconductors are "truly a global business, and trying to put barriers around one segment of it doesn't make sense."
Taiwan's memory makers -- among them Nanya, Mosel-Vitelic and Vanguard -- are estimated to hold about 5% of the global memory market. The industry is dominated by South Korean manufacturers such as Samsung and Hyundai, along with Micron, plus many Japanese producers and Infineon Technologies of Germany.
U.S. DRAM production in 1998 totaled $1.4 billion, while U.S. companies consumed about $4.9 billion worth of DRAMs that year, according to the ITC.
Under ITC rules, Micron could appeal the ruling. "The ITC looked at the strength of the current memory market. That's somewhat of a short-term view," a Micron spokeswoman said. The company "will be considering an appeal," she said.
The ITC said two of its commissioners did not participate in Friday's vote. The Commission will release its final report in the dumping case in early December.