US grants South Korean firms an indefinite waiver on supplying chip-related tools to China

The US government has already notified the two companies of its decision, which takes effect immediately.


In a major concession to Seoul, Washington has granted both Samsung and S.K. Hynix an indefinite waiver on broad restrictions to export advanced chipmaking equipment to China. The U.S. Department of Commerce is updating its ‘validated end user‘ list to include both the South Korean companies, allowing them to continue supplying specific US chipmaking tools to their China factories without requiring additional permission.

China, which is responsible for approximately 80% of global electronics production, is consequently also a significant consumer of semiconductors. Chinese manufacturers heavily rely on imports from international companies for chip production, and around 40% of South Korea’s chip exports are destined for China. Meanwhile, both S.K. Hynix and Samsung depend on U.S. technology and equipment.

When the US announced restrictions on exports of chipmaking tools to China last October, Samsung and S.K. Hynix were granted a one-year waiver to import tools without a license. However, uncertainty loomed about the extension of the waiver. Against such a backdrop, this move is welcomed by the companies as it stabilises the global semiconductor supply chain and removes uncertainties related to their semiconductor manufacturing lines in China.