Netherlands, South Korea Agree to Expand Cooperation on Chips

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte agreed to expand chip cooperation, as key players in the industry seek to better position themselves amid the global semiconductor crunch.

Moon and Rutte pledged in a video summit Wednesday to boost “practical cooperation” in chip production, including “industry 4.0” development, South Korea’s presidential office said. The countries should leverage their “complementary relationship” in the industry, the statement said, citing South Korea manufacturing strength and the Netherlands’s advantages in production equipment.

South Korea and the Netherlands were “pioneers of cutting-edge industries including semiconductors,” Moon told Rutte. “We share the values ​​of democracy, human rights, free trade, multilateralism and are closely working together on global issues.”

The two countries have long “defended the universal values ​​of democracy, human rights, rule of law and multilateralism,” Rutte said. “Naturally, I think that we can cooperate on security issues, cybersecurity, national defense for the stability of the international community.”

Semiconductors have become a major geopolitical concern, as Washington and Beijing seek to secure supply chains for chips that are vital to every aspect of digital life, from data centers to smartphones. President Joe Biden wants to bolster U.S. trade links through democratic allies, such as the Netherlands and South Korea, to avoid chip shortages in times of crisis.

Demand for advanced semiconductors made by South Korean companies Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Inc. has soared. Dutch firm ASML Holding NV is a key supplier to both, and South Korea hosts one of the two centers outside the Netherlands that train semiconductor engineers to fabricate cutting-edge chips on ASML machines.

Moon and Rutte also discussed the “importance of prosperity, peace and security in the region and emphasized the importance of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific,” a separate joint statement said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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