SEOUL, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Wednesday it will invest more than 7 trillion won (US$6.1 billion) over the next two years in research and development for new growth engines in the latest move to secure technology for essential components amid uncertainties over the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted global supply chains, compounding existing uncertainties stemming from trade disputes.
"The restructuring of the global value chain will likely impact not only material imports, but also exports in the long run," the Ministry of Science and ICT said in a statement. "In order to establish a stable ecosystem for parts, materials and equipment in the mid-to-long term, it is essential to achieve technological independence and development."
Last year, South Korea listed 100 local materials, parts and equipment that it aimed to reduce the country's heavy reliance on Japan.
In July last year, Japan imposed tighter regulations on exports to Seoul of three materials -- resist, etching gas and fluorinated polyimide -- that are critical for the production of semiconductors and flexible displays. Japan also later removed South Korea from its list of trusted trading partners.
Under the new plan, the Ministry of Science and ICT said it would add 85 materials, parts and equipment as core components for research and development that will help the country wean its reliance off global trade partners.
By 2022, the government will spend over 5 trillion won in research and development to secure technologies for new growth-engine sectors, according to the ministry.
It will also set aside an additional 2 trillion won in research and development in three industries -- logic chip businesses, biotechnology and future vehicles -- for next year.