S. Korea to cut import tariffs on key materials for chipmaking to zero

South Korea on Thursday announced plans to cut import tariffs on neon, xenon and krypton — key material gases used for chipmaking — to zero next month in a bid to ease a potential supply crunch amid the Ukraine crisis.

The government said it plans to lower duties on the three materials under the quota tariff system to zero from the current 5.5 per cent in April as South Korea heavily relies on their imports from Russia and Ukraine.

South Korea will also push to secure crude oil produced overseas through energy development projects by the state-run Korea National Oil Corp. when energy supply strain arises, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The move is part of state efforts to tackle potential supply chain disruptions amid escalating tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and global sanctions against Moscow.

“If the situation gets protracted, we are very concerned that its impact on the economy will likely expand, given that the effect of the Ukraine crisis on the real economy has begun to be felt,” Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said.

South Korea’s exports to Russia and Ukraine fell 11 per cent and 99 per cent, respectively, in the first 10 days of March from a year earlier.

The country’s consumer inflation rose 3.7 per cent on-year in February, marking the fifth straight month that inflation has grown more than 3 per cent, amid surging energy costs.

South Korea joined the multinational move to impose sanctions on Russia, including export controls and removing Moscow from the SWIFT global payment system.

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