GENEVA (AP) -- South Korea will ask the World Trade Organization to investigate Japan's compliance with a ruling against the punitive charge it imposes on imports of high-tech computer chips.
The request will be made on Sept. 23, according to a WTO agenda released Wednesday.
The WTO has twice ruled against a 27.2 percent charge Tokyo levies on dynamic random access memory made by South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and earlier this year gave Japan until Sept. 1 to bring the tariff in line with international trade rules.
Tokyo said last month that, pending Cabinet approval, it would reduce the tariff on the DRAM chips to 9.1 percent. South Korea and Hynix -- the world's second-largest manufacturer of the DRAMs widely used in personal computers -- want the duty scrapped entirely, and have threatened retaliatory measures.
The United States, the European Union and Japan all have imposed duties on the chips because of what they called unfair South Korean government support for Hynix when it nearly collapsed twice under debt earlier this decade. The WTO found some of that support illegal in upholding Washington's 44.71 percent tariff, even as it called on Brussels and Tokyo to recalculate theirs.
The EU said in April it was repealing duties of more than 30 percent effective as of the end of last year. The U.S. Commerce Department said in August that it had "preliminarily" decided to end its duties against Hynix.
If the WTO finds Japan is still failing to comply with the rules, South Korea can seek authorization for retaliatory sanctions.
Japan is likely to delay the investigation's launch until October.