Japan Must Drop Tariffs on Hynix Semiconductors by Sept

World Trade Organization ruled that tariffs were illegal

Japan must drop punitive tariffs on imports of semiconductors made by South Korean firm Hynix by September 1, a World Trade Organization arbitrator ruled May 5.

Arbitrator David Unterhalter wrote in the ruling that the "reasonable period of time" for Japan to implement the judgement of the WTO's dispute settlement panel is eight months and two weeks from December 17, 2007, the day when the judgement was delivered. "The reasonable period of time will therefore expire on 1 September 2008," he wrote.

The WTO found last year that Japan's punitive tariffs on imports of semiconductors made by South Korean firm Hynix were illegal. It said Japan had "improperly imposed countervailing duties" and called on Tokyo to bring its measures into line with world trade rules.

In January 2006, Japan imposed tariffs of 27.2% on dynamic random access memory (DRAM) chips produced by Hynix over the following five years, accusing the company of selling them in Japan at below cost.

South Korea insisted the decision breached world trade rules and was based on allegations only from Japanese firms.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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