U.S. technology companies have urged Japan and South Korea to negotiate a resolution to a dispute that threatens to upend the global supply chain that the world's top electronics brands rely on make their products.

Five of America's largest tech industry groups including the Semiconductor Industry Association, which counts Qualcomm Inc. and Intel Corp. among its members, issued a joint letter to economy minister Hiroshige Seko and South Korean trade minister Yoo Myung-hee. They asked both sides to refrain from escalating their conflict, which flared after Japan tightened controls this month on exports to South Korea of three materials vital to the production of chips and cutting-edge screens.

Resurgent tensions between Japan and South Korea threaten to wallop chipmakers from Samsung Electronics Co. to SK Hynix Inc., upsetting a carefully choreographed global supply chain by smothering the production of memory chips and other components vital to widely used devices.