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South Korea asks WTO to overturn EU Hynix levy

Official complaint

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The South Korean government has formally complained to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) about the European Union's treatment of Hynix - specifically the EU's imposition of a 34.8 per cent duty on imports of Hynix DRAM.

The move, reported by the Associated Press agency, follows an EU vote earlier this month in favour of the levy recommended by the European Commission.

The South Korean government claims the levy is unfair.

The duty was recommended after the EC's competition division decided that financial aid given to Hynix by some of its creditors ran contrary to WTO regulations. Since the South Korean government held stakes in some of those creditor companies, the aid package amounted to illegal state help, the EC claimed.

The US Department of Commerce has taken the same view, and slapped a 44.71 per cent tariff onto Hynix imports into the US. The South Korean authorities are planning to complain to the WTO about that levy too, the AP report claims.

Hynix's defence has centred on claims that just because the South Korean government has a connection with some of its creditors, that doesn't mean it received government help. It points out that a number of the creditors who supported the rescue package have no connection with the South Korean government. Others are not even incorporated in that country. ®

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