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11 Apr 2023

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South Korea President Calls for Chips Summit

Another wrinkle in the complex Asian semiconductor fabric has emerged as South Korea's President Yoon Suk Yeol has ordered a “national strategy meeting” to be held to discuss the country's chip and battery sectors. The meeting's date has not yet been set. The meeting comes in the wake of strong advancement in chip exports to the US by South Korea as well as several developing Asian nations – including Vietnam, Cambodia, and India – while exports from Taiwan are declining.

Coincidentally, South Korea is also edging closer to Japan in international relations, with President Yoon recently visiting Japan to hold a summit with Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kushida to discuss matters of “national security, diplomacy and economy,” according to South Korea's government. Japan is working to revive its own semiconductor sector even as it has recently agreed with the United States to restrict 23 types of chip imports to China.

Not coincidentally, recent leaked revelations show that the US has been spying on its strong ally South Korea. The South Korean government has said the revelations were fake, but they nevertheless are raising serious concerns as President Yoon prepares for a visit to US President Joe Biden later in April.

Overall, South Korea's economy has been slowing, with its federal bank, the Bank of Korea, steadily raising base rates over the recent past in line with the Fed's activity in the US. The Bank's most recent meeting left rates where they were, though, in the face of a drop of almost 30% in South Korea's currency versus the US dollar over the past two years.

Photo of President Yoon from Government of South Korea.

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