Diversification of sourcing pushed to avoid supply crunch

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Diversification of sourcing pushed to avoid supply crunch

Korea plans to closely monitor the supply chain of major strategic items and key materials in a bid to diversify import sources and prevent potential supply-chain bottlenecks, the finance minister said Wednesday.
The move came as the country has been struggling to address the supply crunch of urea solution, a key fluid needed in diesel cars to cut emissions, since China tightened exports of urea for domestic supply.
"The latest supply shortage of urea solution reminds us of the importance of securing stable supply chains once again as shown by Japan's export curbs in 2019," Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said at a government meeting.
In 2019, Japan imposed restrictions on exports of three key industrial materials essential for chip and display making — photoresist, etching gas and fluorinated polyimide.
Korea has since picked 338 materials, parts and equipment and nurtured related industries to reduce their heavy reliance on imports.
Still, the country imported more than 3,900 out of 12,586 products, or 31 percent of its total import items, from a handful of countries, including the United States and Japan, in the first nine months of this year, according to data from the Korea International Trade Association.
Hong said the government plans to lower its dependence on imports of equipment for new industries to the 30 percent level by 2030.
The country plans to support research and development of major items in four new industries — semiconductors, next-generation cars, biohealth and nano technology — by spending 20 billion won ($17 million) next year.
"If the support measure is implemented as planned, the country will be able to reduce its reliance of equipment imports to 34 percent from the current 84 percent by 2030," Hong said.
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