E.U. extends punitive import tariffs on Hynix DRAM

The European Union (E.U.) imposed a punitive 34.8 per cent import tariff on dynamic random access memory (DRAM) products made by South Korea’s Hynix Semiconductor Inc. Tuesday, in response to what it calls unfair subsidies to the firm.

Trade representatives from 13 of the 15 E.U. member states agreed to impose the tariff for up to five years, the said in a statement. France and the Netherlands opposed the move. Tuesday’s decision follows the temporary imposition of the tariff by the E.U.’s executive, the European Commission, in April.

The E.U. did not impose any tariff on imports of DRAMs made by fellow South Korean chipmaker Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., despite complaints that Samsung also benefited from unfair state assistance.

The decision is a victory for rival DRAM chipmakers, Germany’s Infineon Technologies AG and U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology Inc. Both firms claim to have suffered as a result of the South Korean state intervention to help Hynix.

The action follows a decision by the U.S. government to impose a 44.71 per cent import tariff on Hynix chips.

South Korea is understood to be planning to file a complaint about both tariff regimes at the World Trade Organization.