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(LEAD) Samsung vice chairman discusses contingency plan for Japan's export curbs

17:33 July 14, 2019

(ATTN: REVISES headline, lead; RESTRUCTURES throughout)

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has convened a meeting with top executives to discuss countermeasures against Japan's export restrictions of key materials and possibilities of expanding the measures to other areas, company officials said Sunday.

On Saturday, Lee met with Kim Ki-nam, head of the company's device solution division, and other chiefs in charge of the semiconductor business to share results of his six-day trip to Japan and discuss strategies related to Japan's export curbs on three key materials needed for making chips and displays, they noted.

Lee, the de facto leader of the South Korean tech giant, ordered the senior executives to come up with all possible measures to avoid potential production disruption and prepare for scenarios in which Japan expands the scope of its curbs to other areas, they noted.

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong arrives at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul following his business trip to Japan on July 12, 2019. (Yonhap)

Japan began applying stricter export rules on South Korea for three key materials on July 4 and is now reviewing whether to exclude South Korea from a list of trusted buyers, which could affect other materials needed for making smartphones and televisions.

"We need to develop a long-term perspective to deal with the big change in the global business environment, not just scrambling to find alternatives in the short term," Lee was quoted as saying during the meeting. "We have to come up with an agile system to promptly deal with changes and develop capabilities to lead the market."

During his trip, Lee is known to have secured emergency stockpiles of some of the three materials to prevent operational problems at its production facilities with existing inventories for a while, but it was unknown how Samsung will get the materials or how much it will get, according to an industry source.

"Lee succeeded in securing emergency stockpiles of some materials subject to Tokyo's export restrictions, which could relieve the situation for now," the source familiar with the matter said. "But it wouldn't be an ultimate solution as Japan is pushing to expand its export regulation to other materials as well."

kdon@yna.co.kr
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