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South Korea is scrapping import duties on CPUs from August 1. The current CPU tariff is 4 per cent -- adding around $1.5 million in extra costs for every million units imported. Not a huge burden, then. More of an irritation, not to mention a covert tax on the domestic population. Under WTO rules, South Korea was supposed to kill the CPU tariffs on January 1, 2001. It's getting rid of them now, in an attempt to stimulate domestic consumption. And about time, too. South Korea has no indigenous PC CPU production, so what exactly is it protecting? (Samsung of course builds Alpha -- but the country is not exactly in much danger of being swamped with that technology, is it?) Despite recent problems, the country remains the world's eleventh biggest economy. And the country's electronics and semiconductor manufacturers are huge beneficiaries of a liberalised global system. ® See also: Korea imposes retro-duties on CPUs

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