The US government is set to take punitive action against both Taiwanese and Korean manufacturers of memory products in the wake of an investigation by the US Department of Commerce.
According to reports from South Korea, the Department has found that both Hyundai and LG Semicon have dumped Sram memory stock into the US market, with the former applying margins of five per cent and the latter as much as 55 per cent. Samsung, on the other hand, was found not to have indulged in the practice.
At the same time, the US Department of Commerce has recommended charging punitive amounts to Taiwanese companies Taiwan Semiconductor and UMC, as well as TI-Acer and Winbond Electronics.
The amount of duty could be 100 per cent or more on the Taiwanese products but a final decision is not exepcted until the end of March.
Both cases result from US semiconductor company Micron complaining that the home industry was damaged by Far Eastern companies importing their chips at prices it could not match.
Richard Gordon, a senior semiconductor analyst at Dataquest UK, said that the rulings were unlikely to have any effect on the European market.
He said: ?The European manufacturers have sorted themselves out with Korean and Japanese companies after Siemens complained in the past.? He said, however, that if Taiwanese manufacturers continued to import their products at low prices, it was conceivable that a European issue might arise within two to three years.
He said that in the case of the Korean companies, it was possible they could legitimately claim that the devaluation of the Won meant they could claim that their cost structure was less.
* Last weekend, the South Korean government approved a raft of reforms making the country more competitive in foreign markets. While a general strike was narrowly averted last week, the government?s decisions are likely to raise demands for a strike from the powerful trade unions in the country.
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