The term free trade has become a contradiction. Just look at the chaos that is happening with the US and China. As we have pointed out countless times, the tariffs that the US charges for imports from China (which directly affect the Apple iPhone as of September 1) are import taxes paid by US companies. The latter may decide to consume some or all of the additional taxes in order to reduce their profit margins or pass on the higher costs to US consumers. China retaliates with a devaluation of its currency, the yuan. This makes Chinese goods cheaper to buy in the States, but will force Apple to raise the price of the iPhone in China.
This is not the only trade war. Japan and South Korea have been fighting since last October. At that time, a South Korean court ruled that South Koreans who had to work for Nippon Steel during World War II needed to be compensated for their work. The decision was "unthinkable," the Japanese authorities said the problem had already been decided when the two countries restored diplomatic relations in 1
Japan approves the export of a material that Samsung uses to make its most advanced chips.
In retaliation Against the court decision, Japan began restricting the export of materials such as fluorinated polyimide and resist and high purity hydrogen fluoride (HF) to South Korea. These are used in the manufacture of chips used in smartphones or for smartphone displays. Starting last month, companies wishing to ship these materials to South Korean phone manufacturers, such as Samsung and LG, must apply for a permit. Obtaining such approval can take up to 90 days. This is because Japan has removed South Korea from its "whitelist" of trading partners who have the status of fast trading. South Korea plans to discuss the deletion of Japan from its "white list," but has submitted the matter for a future period. It is planned to tighten the regulations for some exports from Japan to South Korea for materials that are not used solely for technical purposes.
For the production of Samsung's newest Exynos 9825 SoC, certain material is exported from Japan.
According to Reuters, Japan has approved a shipment of EUV photoresists to South Korea for the first time since the restrictions were announced. Samsung uses this material to mask or image designs on silicon that end up in chipsets. These show the placement of billions of transistors and EUV or extreme ultraviolet lithography allow for more precise designs. This leads to the development of more powerful chips that use less energy. Japan controls up to 90% of the global market for this material, so Samsung can not just move to another country to get the EUV photoresist they need.
"Normally we do not disclose every time we issue an export permit, but the South Korean government has described our steps as an export embargo, which is unfair criticism." – Hiroshige Seko, Japanese Minister of Industry. "Even if there are any profits "It will be short-lived is a game without a winner in which everyone, even Japan itself, will be victimized." – Moon Jae-in, President, South Korea
It does not seem, however, that anything between this approval the two countries. A high-ranking representative of the South Korean Ministry of Commerce pointed out that Japan "only approved one of several points," and one official said that Japan's measures "do not mean that the uncertainties for the other issues have been completely eliminated." Although these materials can be used for the production of smartphones, but also for the production of weapons.
Apple iPhone models with OLED display (iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max) and those that should be equipped with such a screen (iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Max) could be affected by this trade war. This is because, as already mentioned, high-purity hydrogen fluoride (HF) is used to make smart phone displays. As one of the materials that Japan will no longer ship to South Korea without permission, both Samsung and LG could tolerate delays in sourcing. And that could mean that Apple, buying its OLED panels for the iPhone from both South Korean companies, is looking for that important part when production is switched to the 2019 iPhone models.