Yesterday, the European Commission imposed a 33% duty on imports of DRAMs produced by Korean-based Hynix Semiconductor.
The decision follows an investigation that showed that Hynix had been benefiting from government subsidies to the detriment of the European chip industry, which suffered severe losses.
Subsidies for another Korean chip producer, Samsung Electronics, were found to be within the limits allowed by the law and therefore not subject to the duty. The duty is provisional and will apply for four months, during which the EU will have to take a definitive decision.
The anti-subsidy investigation was initiated on July 25 2002 following a complaint by Infineon Technologies. The investigation for subsidies covered the period from January 1 2001 to December 31 2001.
The US recently imposed a duty of 57.37% on the imports of Hynix DRAMs, while Taiwan is also considering starting an anti-subsidy investigation.