June 1, 2006 – Japan has rejected South Korea’s request to sit down to bilateral talks with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over its 27.2% punitive duty levied against Hynix DRAM chip imports, which the country set down in January, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
If the two countries can’t reach a resolution within 60 days of the case being filed (South Korea petitioned the WTO in March), the WTO will set up its own panel to rule on the issue.
Japan, which investigated complaints from Elpida Memory Inc. and Micron Japan Ltd. since 2004, claims the South Korean government improperly gave Hynix export subsidies, enabling the chipmaker to set product prices unfairly low in the Japanese market. South Korea contends the money was a loan from a government-financed bank, not subsidies.
The European Union and the US both imposed duties on Hynix in 2003; the WTO upheld the US’ 44% tariff last summer, but earlier this year the EU agreed to lower its countervailing tariff on Hynix memory chips to 32.9% from 34.8%, following a WTO recommendation.