In a significant development, the United States has announced the easing of export restrictions on semiconductor manufacturing equipment for Samsung Electronics and SK hynix factories in China. This decision comes as a relief to the Korean chipmakers and aims to address their concerns regarding the trade issue, Yonhap News report said.
The U.S. government has granted “verified end user” status to Samsung Electronics and SK hynix’s chip factories in China, streamlining the export process by reducing the licensing burden. This move allows U.S. exporters to ship designated items to these preapproved entities without requiring a separate approval process.
Choi Sang-mok, senior presidential secretary for economic affairs, expressed the importance of this decision, stating, “The U.S. government’s decision means that the most significant trade issue of our semiconductor companies has been resolved.”
The notification of this decision has already been conveyed to the South Korean companies, and it is effective immediately, according to Choi Sang-mok.
Last October, the U.S. implemented rules restricting exports of advanced semiconductor manufacturing equipment and items to companies in China. This was seen as an effort to curb Beijing’s technological advancements in the critical sector. However, Samsung Electronics and SK hynix were granted a one-year waiver to mitigate potential disruptions to their operations in China.
Samsung Electronics runs a chip manufacturing plant in Xian, China, contributing to a significant portion of its global NAND flash production. Additionally, in Suzhou, the company operates a semiconductor packaging factory.
SK hynix, on the other hand, has multiple plants in China, including one in Wuxi, where it manufactures approximately half of its global DRAM chips.
This decision by the U.S. government clears uncertainties surrounding chip production for these Korean companies in China, allowing them to continue their operations with reduced export restrictions.