“Fear of decoupling supply chain due to US-China conflict”

Park Jin-gyu, 1st Vice Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy. Provided by the Ministry of Industry.

The government held a joint inspection meeting to respond to recent supply chain issues, such as strengthening environmental regulations in major countries and the spread of Omicron. The participants ordered thorough preparation as the supply chain could be disrupted as the tension between the US and China escalated.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy held the ’16th Industrial Security Task Force Meeting’ at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the 5th, presided over by 1st Vice Minister Park Jin-gyu. At the meeting, associations by major industries such as semiconductors and secondary batteries, economic groups such as the Korea Trade Association and the Korea International Trade Association, and related organizations such as KOTRA and the Industrial Research Institute attended and discussed supply chain trends.

The industry group evaluated that the possibility of supply chain disruption due to the recent tightening of environmental regulations in major countries and the spread of COVID-19 is limited. The automobile industry, which faced difficulties in supply and demand for automotive semiconductors last year, judged that the possibility of short-term supply and demand disruption has decreased. However, he emphasized that continuous management is necessary as there may be supply disruptions when demand for automotive semiconductors increases and Omicron spreads in Southeast Asia.

Concerns have also been raised about the US-China conflict. Experts, including national research institutes, cited signs of decoupling in the supply chain caused by the US-China conflict as a threat, such as the US ban on imports of products produced in Xinjiang, China and China blocking foreign investment in rare earths. It is said that the movement of the two countries to independently establish their own supply chains is becoming clearer. In particular, he suggested that thorough preparation is necessary, saying that if China becomes carbon neutral in earnest, control measures for rare earths, etc. may be implemented due to an increase in demand for core materials such as secondary batteries.

Vice Minister Park said, “We will operate the Early Warning System (EWS) to thoroughly monitor supply chain instability factors and respond fully to stabilization of supply and demand for key items.” In addition, he added, “We will respond promptly when there is a disruption in the supply and demand of raw materials such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and crude oil, while continuing efforts to resolve the supply and demand shortage of automotive semiconductors and become self-reliant.”


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