How the Current Trade Row Between Japan and Korea Affects USB & Tech Prices

How the Current Trade Row Between Japan and Korea Affects USB & Tech Prices

Memory Cards with Japan and Korea Logo

A current trade dispute between Japan and South Korea is threatening to cause a shortage of consumer electronics around the world, with USB and tech supplies already feeling a price squeeze.

The row started when Tokyo imposed export restrictions on particular industrial materials that Seoul uses to make various bits of tech. Alongside this, Japan has said that in the future there could be even tougher restrictions. Today, South Korean officials plan to discuss the issue with the World Trade Organisation in a hope to convince them that Japan has violated global trading rules.

Japan and Korea have long had tensions stemming from their complicated history. These tensions were further inflamed last year, and the tensions appear to have now spilled over onto their trade partnership.

The restrictions don't necessarily block the sale of these chemicals, but means Japanese exporters must have licences to sell to South Korea, causing major delays and limiting supplies.

Three main chemicals are subject to these restrictions: fluorinated polyimide, photoresists and hydrogen fluoride. These chemicals are vital to produce memory chips, and this is what is impacting the price of items such as USB memory sticks. If these restrictions continue, or worsen, then the failure to meet global demand will see prices continue to rise.

Hynix are, alongside Samsung, the biggest chip manufacturers in South Korea, who export 60% of the worlds memory components

Seol Landscape
Seoul is South Korea's capital, and is a massive tech and manufacturing hub. Restrictions on them will be felt globally.


Over the past week or two, we have already seen an increase on USB flash memory prices due to demand. We will continue to monitor our pricing and update our customers on their quote validity periods during this time.

Lucky then, that USB2U have such a plentiful supply of USB flash drives in UK stock, available at a moments notice with competitive prices. From USB sticks to power banks, as well as a wide range of other promotional tech, we always keep plenty of our products right here in UK stock. These products can be easily branded and packaged at our in-house facilities in Northamptonshire, and during certain periods can be sent out in just 24 hours via our express service.

USB stick on graph UK express service icon

From our incredibly popular USBs such as the Twister, to the phenomenally impressive Credit Card Power Bank, the range of products in our UK stock is unparalleled.

For more information on our UK stock, call us on 0800 008 7079. Learn more about why prices of USB sticks change so much here.

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