The European Commission Thursday said provisional countervailing duties of 33% will be levied on imported DRAMs from Hynix Semiconductor Inc. as a penalty for what the EC said were illegal subsidies supplied to the chipmaker by the Korean government.
No penalty was assessed against Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. as alleged government subsidies to that company were considered de minimis.
The 33% DRAM duties against Hynix will be collected for the next four months and adjusted after a final determination is made by the EC in August.
In its ruling, the EC, the administrative arm of the European Union, ruled that two government-directed bailouts of financially-troubled Hynix in 2001 constituted illegal subsidies.
The EC said the Korean government set up a refinancing program using bonds "specific for Hynix, since it appeared to have been designed to help Hynix in its liquidity problems."
A second bailout was financing by banks "influenced by the Korean government...and not to have been granted under market conditions," the EC found.
The duty levied against Hynix DRAM exports to Europe follows a 57.37% preliminary countervailing duty imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department April 1 for what Commerce said were similar illegal government subsidies to the Korean chipmaker.
Commerce will make a ruling June 12 on final Hynix countervailing duties.
The EC case against Hynix and Samsung was filed last July by rival DRAM maker Infineon Technologies A.G.