Japan to Scrap Chip Tariff on Hynix

Hynix, the world's second largest memory chipmaker, says ban will help increase its market share in Japan.

Japan said on April 13 it would end punitive tariffs on computer memory chips made by South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor, bringing an end to a three-year-old trade dispute.

Tokyo decided to lift the measures because it has confirmed that Hynix no longer receives subsidies, a finance ministry official said.

Japan imposed the tariffs on Hynix in 2006, citing an "unfair" bailout of the then-troubled company by its creditors in 2002 and its alleged dumping of DRAM chips in Japan. South Korea has said the Japanese decision breached world trade rules and was based on allegations only from Japanese firms.

The World Trade Organization ruled last year that the Japanese government should remove duty on dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips made by Hynix, the world's second largest memory chipmaker.

The South Korean firm said Tokyo's decision would help it boost sales in the world's second largest economy. "That will help Hynix increase its market share in Japan," the company said, estimating the annual sales boost at about $200 million.

Hynix posted a net loss of 4.38 trillion won (US$3.28 billion) in 2008, the first in five years, due to falling prices amid a global recession.

In December last year creditors agreed to inject 800 billion won into Hynix and to roll over its maturing debt by the end of 2009.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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