Global Tech Ties Fray in Nationalist Shift as Countries Use Trade as a Stick



Eun-Young Jeong and Mayumi Negishi | The Wall Street Journal

Japan’s restrictions on exports to South Korea are prompting Seoul to move toward more self-reliance, the latest evidence of a nationalist shift in the technology industry.

South Korea said Wednesday it was considering an annual investment of one trillion won ($856.6 million) in materials and equipment used to produce tech components. It was a response to Tokyo’s move this week to restrict exports of three materials used to manufacture semiconductors and display panels.

Japan is restricting exports of fluorinated polyimide, used in flexible smartphone displays, photoresist and high-purity hydrogen fluoride. The latter is an acid that can eat into hard surfaces and is used to etch circuits onto slivers of silicon to form semiconductors.

“The government intends to give support on many fronts, including in essential materials for key industries, diversifying imports, strengthening domestic production capacity and more,” said Sung Yun-mo, Seoul’s minister of trade, industry and energy.

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