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Home>news>REACH News>MoE Deny Environmental Regulations Hinder Localization of Semiconductor Materials

MoE Deny Environmental Regulations Hinder Localization of Semiconductor Materials

Jul 19 2019 share:

Takehome:

  • In South Korea, the localization of semiconductor materials has been heatedly discussed, and MoE's environmental regulations are considered to be the main resistance to localization.

  • MoE published an explanation that environmental regulations have played a very important role in reducing chemical safety accidents and many special measures have been taken to ensure self-sustainability in important precursor materials.

  • Other factors affecting the localization of semiconductor materials were discussed, and MoE stated that it would offer full support.          

Recently, the trade friction between Japan and South Korea on semiconductor materials has caused worldwide concern (ChemLinked News [1]). In the face of Japan’s tough attitude, South Korea has to find other ways to obtain these important raw materials in a short time. One of the most contentious issues for South Koreans is the country’s lack of self-sustainability in semiconductor raw materials. 

Korea Advanced Semiconductor Industry Structure Research Association reported in the Response Plan to Japan Semiconductor Materials Export Regulations that high-purity hydrogen fluoride (etching gas) is difficult to localize because of Korea’s domestic environmental regulations. This viewpoint was echoed by many in the media and the Ministry of Environment (MoE) has been blamed for South Korea’s current semiconductor woes. 

Facing the public's accusations and questions, MoE published an explanation [2] on 8th July defending themselves. In the explanation, MoE pointed out that environmental regulations have played a pivotal role in reducing chemical safety accidents and that many special measures have been taken to offset the deleterious impact of environmental regulations and ensure raw material self-sustainability.

MoE listed two sets of comparative data to prove the important role of Off-Site Consequence Analysis (OCA) in CCA: the workplaces for hazardous chemicals that have obtained a business license has increased from 8222 in December 2014 to 14,676 in December 2018, and chemical accidents have decreased from 113 in 2015 to 66 in 2018. OCA is an institutional measure, which is mentioned as the “environmental regulations”, and was implemented to prevent chemical accidents, strengthen safety standards, and predict the impact of accidents to minimize disasters. MoE emphasized that OCA is a necessary measure to guarantee safety when handling hazardous chemicals and is not implemented to restrict the construction of factories. 

MoE declared that many special measures have been taken to revitalize the raw materials sector, such as: offering exemptions from import declarations, permits for research or laboratory reagents, exemptions from business license requirements, support in experimentation and research and exemptions from OCA requirements under certain conditions.  

MoE pointed that the response plan also mentioned other factors affecting the localization of semiconductor materials, such as manufacturers' own technical limitations and the high cost of self-production. What’s more, the production of high-purity hydrogen fluoride totally relies on equipment imported from Japan. When MoE receives an application, it needs to issue a new license to the facility only after the potential for Hydrogen Fluoride leakage has been thoroughly addressed. 

At last, to accelerate the localization of semiconductor materials, MoE stated that it will promptly handle applications for factory business licenses and provide compliance support for small and medium-sized enterprises and retail companies, at the same time guaranteeing national security and enterprise competitiveness.


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