The Japanese government last week licensed exports of liquid hydrogen fluoride for semiconductor production strains for the first time since it declared regulations on exports of three vital materials to Korea in July.
As a result, the export of restricted export items to Korea has been permitted, regardless that it is still constrained, following photoresist (PR), fluorinated polyimide (FPI), and gas hydrogen fluoride (Etching gas).
Based on the trade officials and industry sources, the Japanese government recently informed them that it accepts its request for approval to export liquid hydrogen fluoride to Korea from Stellachemifa, a local producer of chemical materials.
Analysts say the permission is for a few of the products Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix ordered shortly after the declaration of export rules in July this year, which was returned on the basis of document supplementation, considering that the screening process for export purposes is outlined in principle as “90 days.”
They stated that if the license is postponed without any explicit cause, it could be deemed an unfair “export control,” which could be disadvantageous during the ongoing World Trade Organization (WTO) conflict because of complaints from South Korea.
Also, some analysts say that Korean corporations have made considerable progress in localization by placing domestic liquid hydrogen fluoride into the process and using it for tests.
Stellachemifa, which given approval for export this time, is thought to have been struck by sales and operating profit plunging 21% and 88%, respectively, from the same interval in 2018 during the third quarter when Japan’s export constraints to Korea implemented.