Japanese Governments Lifts Regulation on Exportation of EUV Photoresist and Etching Gas

Aug 09, 2019

Japanese Government approved supply of EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) photoresist and etching gas to South Korean businesses in just a month removed from enforcing regulation on exportation of key semiconductor materials. While some suggest that Japanese Government is making this move to save its face from international societies, other suggest that Japanese Government is taking a step backward. South Korean industries are still keeping their eyes wide open because they cannot figure out Japanese Government’s intention. However, this move has allowed South Korean Government to catch its breath on preparing countermeasures. After 35 days from enforcing regulation on exportation of three key semiconductor materials to South Korean businesses, Japanese Government is now allowing exportation of EUV photoresist and etching gas to Samsung Electronics. EUV photoresist will be supplied to Samsung Electronics’ business place in Hwasung that utilizes EUV process while etching gas will be supplied to its plant in Xi’an.
South Korean industries are finally able to breathe normally as Japanese Government now allows exportation of photoresist and etching gas. However, there are different opinions towards Japanese Government’s true intention. “It seems that Japanese Government realized that its businesses will also be affected by its own regulation as South Korean businesses have rapidly worked on localizing materials.” said Professor Park Jae-geun of Hanyang University. “It wants to protect its businesses considering the fact that 30 to 40% of entire supply of EUV photoresists are consumed by South Korean businesses although 90% of supply of EUV photoresists are supplied by Japanese businesses.” On the other hand, Professor Jung In-kyo of Inha University’s International Commerce Department thinks differently. “It seems that Japanese Government is pressuring our Supreme Court to discuss about the decision made on forced labor issue by adjusting its regulation.” said Professor Jung. “Japanese Government is trying to justify itself.”
Many also believe that Japanese Government’s diplomatic tricks will continue until end of this year. “We cannot completely welcome the sight of Japanese Government allowing exportation.” said a representative for South Korea’s semiconductor industry. “If it were to ease its regulation, then it would have also withdrawn from its decision to remove our country from its white list.”

Japanese Governments Lifts Regulation on Exportation of EUV Photoresist and Etching Gas

Although there are different opinions towards Japanese Government’s recent decision, industries agree that they still need to keep their eyes open on this current trade issue. “It is difficult to know the true meaning just from this deregulation.” said a representative for an equipment manufacturer. “We need to prepare for a possibility of Japanese Government adding additional items under its regulation.” This representative also added that South Korean businesses must continue to work on localizing key materials and parts even though Japanese Government now allows exportation of two materials.
South Korean Government is planning to keep on putting its effort into localization. “Japanese Government is now allowing exportation of EUV photoresist that was one of three key semiconductor materials that were regulated.” said Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon during his opening statement at a national affairs examination adjustment meeting that was held at Government Complex-Seoul. “We are going to strengthen our diplomatic effort so that our relationship with Japanese Government goes back to normal.”
South Korean Government is examining current trade tension and is catching its breath when it can. “We believe that Japanese Government is allowing exportation of few materials after we started accelerating the process of preparing to file a lawsuit through WTO (World Trade Organization).” said a representative for South Korean Government. “It seems that it is trying to justify itself rather than trying to carry out trade retaliation on us.”
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) put off revised ‘strategic material exportation-importation announcement’ that would remove Japan from South Korea’s white list. “Although we discussed during a ministers meeting about revising announcement on exportation-importation of strategic materials, we decided that there needs to be more discussions regarding detailed information and timing of implementation.” said a representative for MOTIE. “We are planning to decide on a final announcement and timing of pre-announcement of legislation in the future.”
Some pointed out that South Korea should resist from countermeasures such as removing Japan from South Korea’s white list. “If South Korea removes Japan from its white list, this can act as a negative variable towards development of public opinions of international societies regarding Japanese Government’s unfair practice .” said Professor Lee Hyo-young of Korea National Diplomatic Academy’s Economy Trade Research Department. “South Korea must be very careful about removing Japan from its white list.”
Staff Reporter Kang, Hyeryung | kang@etnews.com & Staff Reporter Byun, Sanggeun | sgbyun@etnews.com & Staff Reporter Sung, Hyeonhee | sunghh@etnews.com

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