[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s Trade Ministry announced on April 17 that Samsung’s environmental assessment reports include information that fall into the category of critical technologies that should not be revealed to foreign companies or organizations.
“There is possibility that foreign companies can learn the details of Samsung’s chip-making process, including types of chemicals used at the lines, plant layouts, and monthly production volume, from the information included in the reports,” the Trade Ministry said in a press release.
The results are not legally binding, but can be used in the courts in favor of Samsung Electronics.
Samsung headquarters in Seoul.
Lowdown on Samsung's workplace reports on chip plants
IT sector fears fallout from orders to reveal company secrets
The announcement came on the same day that the Central Administrative Appeals Commission decided to suspend a government order to disclose environmental assessment reports of Samsung Electronics’ chip factories, which the company see to be including operational secrets.
Earlier this month, the tech giant requested the commission to cancel the order by the Ministry of Employment and Labor. Samsung also filed a suit at a district court, and asked the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy to decide whether the reports do include national key information that need to be protected.
Samsung was scheduled to publicize the reports on the working conditions of its factories, including those in Pyeongtaek, Hwaseong, and Giheung, by April 20.
The Daejeon High Court had ordered the Korean tech giant to release the reports, overturning the previous ruling of a lower court. An environment assessment report, which manufacturers are required to submit to the Labor Ministry on a regular basis, include a range of information, such as chemicals used at factories, manufacturing procedures, and layouts of plants.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)