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IT platform, Hynix tagged by two U.S. trade rulings

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Apr 03,2003
WASHINGTON ― The U.S. government took two steps yesterday that may lead to trade conflicts with South Korea. The Commerce Department upheld a complaint from Micron Technology Inc. that Hynix Semiconductor Inc. was unfairly subsidized by government-backed lenders in Korea. The ruling will authorize a 57.4 percent countervailing duty on exports by Hynix, the world’s third-largest memory chipmaker, to the United States. The agency also levied 0.16 percent in countervailing tariffs on exports by Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest memory chipmaker. Separately, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has included Korea on its watch list under the “Special 301” clause to protect intellectual property, a trade expert in Washington reported. The U.S. trade office was to announce the list on Wednesday local time. The trade office accepted Sun Microsystems Inc.’s plea that part of the wireless Internet platform for interoperability, or WIPI, infringes on its intellectual property rights. WIPI is a standard platform for wireless Internet that the Korean government plans to require the three mobile operators in Korea to adopt in May. The U.S. trade office can designate countries on the watch list as a “priority foreign country” if issues at stake are not resolved. That designation would start a one-year negotiation, after which the office could select one of the country’s export items and impose a retaliatory tariff of 100 percent. The WIPI was jointly developed by domestic companies and the Korean government to standardize basic software that will perform the functions of Windows operating software for personal computers on mobile phones. Sun Microsystems, concerned that its own platform Brew could face obstacles in the Korean market, petitioned to the U.S. trade office that WIPI violated its intellectual property rights, industry experts said. On the Commerce Department ruling, a Hynix official said: “The preliminary ruling is an irrational step to force Hynix out of the market. We are drawing up contingency plans to minimize the effect on exports while waiting for the final ruling.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade expressed regrets over the “unfair ruling that unilaterally accepted the petitioner’s argument.” by Lee Hyo-joon


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