The European Union imposed a punitive 34.8% import tariff on dynamic random access memory (DRAM) products made by South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor on 12 August, in response to what it calls unfair subsidies to the firm.
Trade representatives from 13 of the 15 EU member states agreed to impose the tariff for up to five years. France and the Netherlands opposed the move. The decision follows the temporary imposition of the tariff by the EU's executive, the European Commission, in April.
The EU did not impose any tariff on imports of DRAMs made by fellow South Korean chip maker Samsung Electronics, despite complaints that Samsung also benefited from unfair state assistance.
The decision is a victory for rival DRAM chip makers, Germany's Infineon Technologies and US chip maker Micron Technology. Both firms claim to have suffered as a result of the South Korean state intervention to help Hynix.
The action follows a decision by the US government to impose a 44.71% import tariff on Hynix chips.
South Korea is understood to be planning to file a complaint about both tariff regimes at the World Trade Organisation.
Paul Meller writes for IDG News Service