Trade Victories In Korea And China

We’ve looked before at how the Chinese WAPI standard was an artificial trade barrier to try to help domestic Chinese companies in the wireless LAN market, and we’ve looked at how South Korea’s WIPI requirement was an artificial trade barrier to foster a local standard that was a competitor to Qualcomm’s BREW. We’ve also looked at articles that have confused the two very different specs. Now, we finally have an article that discusses both WIPI and WAPI without confusion. It seems the US Trade Representative is claiming victory in both trade disputes. The Chinese government, under pressure from the USTR and from individual WLAN chip companies such as Broadcom, finally relented, and have indefinitely suspended their June 1 deadline for WAPI in Chinese WLAN kit. Of course, the Chinese government may still have some tricks up its sleeve, plus, apparently they didn’t offer to delay WAPI for nothing – the USTR has eased export restrictions on quasi-military technology in the high-stakes international tit-for-tat. The South Korean government has also relented on WIPI, agreeing that it would let the market decide whether to use WIPI or BREW. Qualcomm’s Irwin Jacobs welcomed the falling of the trade barrier, but his celebration may be short-lived: as we said on Tuesday, the Korean wireless carriers all seem to have a preference for the cheaper WIPI over BREW. Either way, we agree that these were meddlesome trade barriers, and we’re happy to see them taken down.

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