Japan OKs 1st shipment of hydrogen fluoride to S. Korea since export curbs

August 29, 2019

Japan has allowed the first shipment of hydrogen fluoride to South Korea since it tightened export controls in July, according to a government official.

Hydrogen fluoride is one of three materials, used in the production of semiconductors and display panels, affected by Japan’s export curbs against South Korea.

Since the controls took effect, Japan has twice allowed the shipment of photoresist. The other material is fluorinated polyimide.

“We confirmed with the relevant industry today (Thursday) that Japan allowed one shipment of hydrogen fluoride gas,” said an official at South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Samsung is the reported recipient of the shipment.

In Tokyo, Japan refused to confirm the export.

“We have not made any such announcement,” an official at Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in response to a Yonhap query. “In principle, we do not release information on an individual firm.”

South Korean officials said the single shipment did not represent a shift in Japan’s position and that Seoul would continue to demand the removal of all export controls.

Relations between Seoul and Tokyo have plummeted in recent weeks amid an escalating dispute over trade and differences over their shared history.