Japan decided Friday to end most of its punitive tariffs slapped on South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor Inc., following a similar U.S. decision and orders from the World Trade Organization.
Japan will lower its 27.2 percent duty on imports of Hynix dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, chips to 9.1 percent, effective Sept. 1, the deadline set by the international trade body, a Ministry of Finance official said on condition of anonymity, per ministry policy.
The decision came at a panel meeting and will be approved by the Cabinet next week, he said. Japan retained the 9.1 percent portion of the tariff that the WTO did not contest, he said.
The U.S. Commerce Department has "preliminarily" decided to end its duties against Hynix, the world's second-largest manufacturer of computer memory chips, department spokeswoman Brittany Eck said Thursday. A final decision is due Dec. 11, but that deadline could be extended by up to 60 days, she said.
Hynix could not be immediately reached for comment after news of Japan's decision. But it had said earlier it hoped the moves by the U.S. and the EU would push Japan toward a similar result.
The United States, EU and Japan imposed duties on Hynix chips over what they alleged was unfair South Korean government support for the company when it twice nearly collapsed under debt in 2001 and 2002.
South Korea fought the tariffs at the World Trade Organization. The WTO said some of Seoul's financial support for Hynix was illegal. The global body upheld Washington's 44.71 percent tariff, but called for the EU and Japan to recalculate theirs.
The EU, which levied its tariffs on Hynix in 2003, said in April it was repealing its duties of more than 30 percent effective to the end of last year.
Icheon, South Korea-based Hynix in July reported a loss in the three months ended June 30, its third straight quarter of red ink, largely because of plunging chip prices. Hynix said in a statement Thursday the U.S. decision will help a turnaround in the second half.
AP Business Writer Kelly Olsen in Seoul contributed to this report.