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South Korea sees limited short-term impact from China curbs on chip materials

SEOUL — A senior South Korean official said on Tuesday the short-term impact of China’s export controls targeting gallium and germanium used in the semiconductor industry would be limited, offset by a government stockpile and alternative supplies.

South Korea is a leading chip maker and the industry ministry would continue to monitor the situation, since it could not rule out the possibility that China might extend the scope of its export controls to other materials, said Young J. Joo, deputy minister for industrial policy.

“We are monitoring the situation in key countries such as the US and Japan and will make utmost efforts to prepare measures to deal with even unlikely situations,” the deputy minister said.

China did not control an absolute amount of germanium in the world as it did with rare earths, the official said.

The ministry will continue to support the development of alternative materials and import channels, he added.

The Korea Mine Rehabilitation and Mineral Resources Corporation (KOMIR) had about 40 days stockpile of gallium that local industry could use, a government source with knowledge of the matter said, adding there were other sources of germanium. — Reuters

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