The World Trade Organisation has overturned an earlier ruling that the US was wrong to impose punitive duties on Hynix, the Korean memory maker.
Following a complaint in 2002 from Micron, the US’s sole DRAM maker, the Department of Commerce ruled that Hynix had received illegal state subsidies – via local banks - in 2000 and 2001 to ensure its survival. It imposed duties of 44 per cent on Hynix DRAM sold in the US. Soon afterwards, the EU slapped import duties of 35 per cent on DRAM.
But in December 2004, a WTO dispute settlement panel ruled that the US had acted illegally in imposing its action.
And in June, it ruled that the EU should rethink the levy as it had failed to prove that South Korean government had provided Hynix with aid outlawed by the trade body.
Yesterday the WTO’s Appellate Body in Geneva rejected the December panel ruling. It found that the Panel had erred by considering the US evidence in a piecemeal fashion, rather than its totality, and that it had wrongly refused to hear some US evidence.
Micron is cock-a-hoop at the decision, as this Oscar acceptance speech performance from Steve Appleton, Micron chairman, CEO and president, shows.
"We are gratified that the WTO Appellate Body has agreed with the US position on these unlawful subsidies,. I would like to thank the Idaho, Utah and Virginia Congressional delegations for their strong support and advocacy throughout this process. Additionally, the Bush Administration, Ambassador Portman, Secretary Gutierrez, and the Department of Commerce and US Trade Representative staff deserve recognition for tireless work on this important case. Today’s decision represents a tremendous victory for US free trade laws." ®
Appelate Body ruling (pdf 101 pages; 385KB)