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(LEAD) Samsung's workplace reports contain 'key national technologies': panel

All Headlines 21:32 April 17, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with more comments in para 4; ADDS graphic image)

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- An expert panel concluded that Samsung Electronics Co.'s assessment reports on workplace environments at its semiconductor factories contain "key national technologies" that need protection from public disclosure, the commerce ministry said Tuesday.

The panel composed of semiconductor experts came to the conclusion in their second meeting this week, after reviewing workplace reports on four Samsung factories in Onyang, Giheung, Hwaseong and Pyeongtaek, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.

"Some contents in Samsung's workplace reports from 2009-2017 contain key national technologies, including 30-nanometer DRAM chip, NAND flash, application processor and assembling technology," the ministry said in a release.

"The panel judged that the types of chemicals, the order of their measurement, layout and the monthly processing volume detailed in the reports could make it possible to guess the (chip) manufacturing processes and their assembly technologies," it noted.

The conclusion is expected to bolster the tech giant in its legal battle to block the labor ministry's move to disclose its workplace reports to the public.

Ex-Samsung workers suffering illnesses and labor activists have pressured Samsung to reveal chemicals used in its chip and display production lines, while the company has withheld the information citing trade secrets.

The fight, which has lasted over a decade, gained impetus after the labor ministry in February decided to disclose Samsung's workplace reports to those who file for industrial accident compensation and their families.

Samsung quickly filed suits with local administrative courts against the ministry's decision. The firm has denied that there is a connection between work conditions in chip manufacturing and illnesses suffered by its former employees.

(LEAD) Samsung's workplace reports contain 'key national technologies': panel - 1


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