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‘US-S.Korea co-op on semiconductor will benefit both’

The deputy secretary insisted the US’ efforts to expand its own manufacturing capacity will not lead to increased competition for South Korean companies.

IANS | San Francisco |

The US should work with South Korea to build a resilient semiconductor supply chain in the US and globally, and such cooperation will also help strengthen South Korea’s own industry, a senior US official said.

Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves said South Korea and other US allies also share a common interest of protecting their technologies and intellectual properties when dealing with other countries, such as China.

“As our 100 Day Review noted, it’s critical we work with our allies like Korea to make our supply chains for critical products like semiconductors and advanced batteries more resilient,” the deputy secretary said in a webinar hosted by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank.

“According to the semiconductor industry association, South Korea accounts for 16 percent of the global semiconductor value chain. Combined with our long history of close friendship and deep commercial ties, this makes South Korea an absolutely vital partner on this issue,” he added, noting South Korea is the US’ sixth-largest trading partner.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his US counterpart Joe Biden agreed to cooperate on building a resilient global supply chain for semiconductors when they met in Washington in May.

Graves welcomed the fact that two major South Korean firms — Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix — have already committed a combined total of $18 billion investment in the US, reports Yonhap news agency.

“As both of our countries undertake policy measures to encourage the development of domestic semiconductor supply chains, we hope to see investment flows in both directions,” he said.

The deputy secretary insisted the US’ efforts to expand its own manufacturing capacity will not lead to increased competition for South Korean companies.

“The United States won’t just have the capacity, even if we move as quickly as we’d like on the Chips Act,” he said, referring to proposed legislation that seeks to provide $52 billion in funding for the U.S. semiconductor industry.

Graves insisted working together will also help protect South Korea’s own technology when dealing with their competitors, such as China.