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Mar 10, 2020 / 17:40

Samsung Display asks Vietnam not to quarantine 700 engineers from S.Korea

Samsung could face big losses if its engineers an experts face 14-day quarantine upon entering Vietnam.

Samsung Display, a supplier for Samsung Electronics and Apple, has asked Vietnam to exempt 700 engineers coming from coronavirus-hit South Korea from a mandatory quarantine, Reuters reported.

 Illustrative photo. 

Vietnam now requires all visitors, including businesses, diplomats, or officials, from South Korea or transiting through South Korea, to be quarantined in 14 days amid the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic in that country, which has reported one of the highest numbers of infections outside China.

This has come as a blow to South Korean firms, which are the biggest foreign investors in Vietnam. Samsung Display runs a factory in the Southeast Asian country where it assembles OLED displays used in smartphones made by Samsung Electronics, Apple and Huawei.

“Around this time of the year, Samsung Display sends engineers from Korea to Vietnam to prepare for new products scheduled to be launched in the latter half of the year,” a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Vietnam is South Korea’s No. 3 export market as well as the fifth-biggest source of Korean imports. Samsung Electronics alone accounts for one fourth of Vietnam’s exports and makes over half of its global smartphones in the country.

South Korean Ambassador to Vietnam Park Noh-wan previously said Samsung may face losses of up to US$10 billion if engineers and experts of the South Korean conglomerate are put into quarantine upon entering Vietnam.

Park suggested all South Koreans with a health certificate issued by the South Korean authority should be allowed to enter Vietnam without being isolated.

Since February 29, the number of South Koreans coming to Vietnam has plunged after the Vietnam halted the unilateral visa-waiver program for South Koreans.

In the first two months of 2019, an average of 100 South Koreans arrived to Vietnam per day, significantly lower than the previous figure of 13,000 recorded in the same period last year.