Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong seeks to tentatively solve urgent trade row
Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong seeks to tentatively solve urgent trade row
  • Jung So-yeon
  • 승인 2019.07.15 22:13
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Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong convened an emergency meeting of semiconductor and display executives after a six-day business trip aimed at finding countermeasures for Japan's export regulations. On July 13, the vice chairman held an emergency meeting at Samsung Electronics' operations, a business official said on July 14.

Participants in the meeting included Kim Ki-nam, vice chairman of DS (Device Solution) division, who oversees Samsung Electronics' semiconductor and display businesses, Jin Kyo-young, president of memory business, Kang In-yup, president of System LSI Business, and Lee Dong-hoon, president of Samsung Display.

At the meeting, Vice-Chairman Lee discussed the current situation of supply and demand of semiconductor and display materials, the impact on their business, and future countermeasures while sharing the results of his business trip. Lee reportedly met with local industry officials in Tokyo on July 7-12, and found a solution to the Japanese government's regulations on exports of key materials for semiconductors and displays. 

The vice chairman told the presidents that they should not be focused on replacing short-term issues but rather should develop a perspective to grasp the big trend of changes in the global business environment. He also urged the government to "create its capacity to lead the market without being swayed while preparing a system that can be agile in dealing with changes." 

It is believed that the Japanese government's export regulations could affect not only semiconductors but also mobile phones and TVs in the long run, so he ordered them to prepare for such measures. It is expected that Samsung Electronics will diversify its trading lines to China, Taiwan and Russia in order to secure stable materials while also considering ways to nurture domestic material industries.

Meanwhile, the vice chairman succeeded in securing emergency supplies of three materials that the Japanese government has cited as targets for export regulations through his business trip, according to a business official. The three items are Fluorine Polyimide (FPI), Photoresist (PR), and HF (Hydrogen fluoride), which are essential for producing semiconductors and displays.

It has not been confirmed how much additional supplies were secured at this time and how they were obtained. However, there is a general consensus that  any serious production loss has been prevented, as stock and additional supplies have been procured.

"Lee's quick response seems to have succeeded in putting out a quick fire on the three key materials," a business source said.

Industry sources, however, say that the amount secured by the vice chairman is unlikely to be in the form of direct imports from local material producers. They say that they may have found a way to import supplies from overseas plants of Japanese-based manufacturers or have secured other sources of procurement.

Starting next month, the Japanese government is likely to exclude Korea from its export "white list." If export-regulated items are expanded, even key components that are essential to the production of smartphones and TVs can be affected.

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