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South Korea appeals to WTO over Hynix DRAM tariffs

US, EU 'illegal'

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The South Korean government is to complain to the World Trade Organisation over the punitive tariffs imposed by the US government and expected to be levied by the European Union on imports of Hynix DRAM products.

The South Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said on Wednesday it would launch an official complaint over the US' move to add a 44.7 per cent duty on Hynix imports. Yesterday, according to a Dow Jones report, the South Korean Ministry of Finance and Economy said it would broaden the complaint to include the EU.

Like the US Department of Commerce, EU trade officials earlier this year said they would advised the imposition of a punitive duty on Hynix imports. The EU recommended a 33 per cent tariff, the DoC a 57 per cent tariff. This week the US moved to imposed a slightly reduced levy. The EU is not expected to announce its final tariff until the European Commission rules on the matter in August.

The South Korean government is clearly not going to wait. It regards the tariffs as illegal. The duties were announced after investigations into financial rescue packages were granted to Hynix by its creditor banks. Some of those banks were part-owned by the South Korean government. That meant that the bail-out amounted to government aid, banned by WTO regulations.

Hynix itself claims that owning a stake in a bank is not the same thing as actively mounting a rescue and, in any case, many of the banks contributing to the rescue package have no connection whatsoever with the South Korean government. ®

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US hits Hynix with 57% import duty
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