South Korean chipmakers, including Samsung Electronics and SK hynix, have reportedly requested an “indefinite exemption” on US export controls to China due to mounting pressure from the US-China rivalry. The chipmakers have submitted requests to the US Department of Commerce for validated end-user authorization, which would permit them to export US-manufactured equipment to Chinese factories.

The aim of the program is to ease the licensing burden by allowing designated items to be shipped to preapproved entities under general authorization. Samsung and SK hynix were previously on the validated end-user authorization list before the US imposed sanctions on China. While officials from both companies have refrained from commenting on the requests, sources indicate that the chipmakers are seeking exemptions or an extended grace period from US export controls. Last year, the US Commerce Department implemented broad chip-related export restrictions on China, providing a one-year waiver to Samsung and SK hynix, allowing them to import tools without further licensing requirements.

US Undersecretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Alan Estevez recently expressed the government’s intention to extend exemptions for Korean and Taiwanese chip suppliers with facilities in China. Observers suggest that a decision from the US on the matter is expected soon, as US semiconductor equipment manufacturers need to plan their production for the Chinese factories of major customers, including Korean chipmakers. Samsung operates chip plants in Xian and Suzhou, while SK hynix has multiple plants in China, with one in Wuxi responsible for nearly half of the chipmaker’s DRAM production.

Thanks to m.theinvestor.co.kr, for providing this article.

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