Amid the ongoing Japan-South Korea trade dispute, Japan has approved the export of a key material to Samsung Electronics that is used to make the company’s semiconductors.
The Japanese government approved the export of photoresist to Samsung on Monday, which is integral to the tech giant’s EUV process when making logic chips, according to a South Korean national broadcaster KBS report.
The amount of photoresist approved for export will be enough for Samsung to continue semiconductor production for six months. This follows Japan approving a batch of the same material — around three months’ worth of semiconductor production — at the start ofthe month, meaning the South Korean tech giant will have enough photoresist to make logic chips unimpeded for the next nine months.
Samsung declined to comment on the matter.
Approval for the export of fluorinated polyimide or hydrogen fluoride, which goes into the production of display panels, has yet to be announced.
Japan first began imposing trade restrictions against South Korea in July, when it approved laws requiring Japanese companies to obtain government approval in order to export fluorinated polyimide, photoresist, or hydrogen fluoride to South Korean companies.
In its second quarter earnings statement, Samsung warned of persistent uncertainties going forward, a likely reference to the Japan-South Korea trade dispute as well as the bigger US-China trade conflict that lies in the background.
With no clear end in sight for the Japan-South Korea trade dispute, Samsung boss JY Lee also reportedly ordered Samsung’s businesses to come up with contingency plans with the expectation that the dispute could drag on.
Samsung offers its EUV process to its own chip business, in addition to clients like Qualcomm and Nvidia.
Japan’s decision to impose trade restrictions against its Asian neighbour has widely been seen as retaliation against South Korea’s high court order in 2018 for Mitsubishi to provide compensation for its use of South Korean slave labourers during World War Two.
High level talks between the countries have so far failed to bring a resolution to the trade dispute.
Citing consumer safety concerns and uncertainty over Google’s Android support, SoftBank and KDDI have delayed the sale of new handsets from the Chinese vendor, specifically, the Huawei P30 lite, which had been slated to hit the local market on May 24.