Trade minister voices concerns over chip info disclosure

By Hong Yoo
  • Published : Oct 6, 2021 - 16:26
  • Updated : Oct 6, 2021 - 16:31

S. Korea’s Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo speaks with US trade representative Katherine Tai on Tueday in Paris. (Yonhap)
South Korea’s Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo expressed concern over the US request on Korean chipmakers to disclose sensitive information about technology, clients and inventories, during his meeting Tuesday with US counterpart Katherine Tai, officials in Seoul said Wednesday.

Yeo, who is currently attending a council meeting of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, held bilateral talks with the US trade representative, where he relayed such opinion from local chipmakers.

Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest memory chip maker, is among a handful of global companies who have been asked by the US Commerce Department to answer a list of questions, as the US seeks to address a global chip supply shortage. They have until Nov. 8 to fill in the questionnaire.

During their talk, Minister Yeo pointed out that the range of requested information is vast and that it includes some trade secrets.

Earlier, Industry Minister Moon Seung-wook told The Korea Herald that the government will raise the issue to the US.

Moon has said, “The industry is taking this very sensitively, so the government will discuss the matter (with the US side), if needed, to verify.”

Officials of major Korean chipmakers described the US request as “unprecedented” and “unthinkable” in earlier interviews with The Korea Herald.

The US trade representative, in response, said it is a measure taken to resolve global semiconductor supply shortages and that they will go over such concerns with related ministries.

The two trade representatives also discussed the importance of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference to be held next month as well as making concrete accomplishments in COVID-19 countermeasures and fisheries subsidy negotiation.

Seoul‘s trade ministry also said they agreed to continue cooperation in the fields of supply chain and technology trade, digital trade, vaccine, and climate change, in response to changing trade order.