See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Economics

Seoul brings issue of Japan’s retaliatory action to WTO

Korea says Japanese measures fly in the face of free trade.


Written by

Updated: July 10, 2019

The government said Tuesday it had raised the issue of Tokyo’s economic retaliatory measures against Seoul at a World Trade Organization meeting amid intensifying tensions between the two countries, stemming from a long-standing dispute regarding forced labor during Japan’s 1910-45 occupation of the Korean Peninsula.

During a meeting of the WTO’s Council for Trade in Goods held in Geneva, Ambassador to Geneva Paik Ji-ah said that that Japan’s restrictions on exports of key chemicals used to make high-tech components to South Korea went against free trade principles.

The meeting was held Monday and Tuesday.

The envoy called for a prompt withdrawal and a clarification on the grounds of the export restrictions taken by Japan, stressing the invalidity of what Japan claimed to be grounds for such action — “damage to trust” and “inappropriate situation” — under the current WTO rules.

Paik also expressed regrets over Japan’s decision for the retaliatory action after it hosted a G-20 summit last month where leaders had clearly confirmed the need for free, fair and non-discriminatory trade policies.

Seoul also plans to raise the issue at a general council meeting of the WTO, which will take place July 23-24.

“It is hard to expect us to be able to reach an agreement on the issue, as the WTO requires a unanimous vote but we expect that (addressing the issue) will rouse the international community’s public opinion concerning Japan’s unfair measures,” a Foreign Ministry official said.

Tensions between South Korea and Japan escalated over the last few days after Japan tightened restrictions on several key chemical exports to South Korea in an apparent response to last year’s Supreme Court rulings here against Japanese firms over wartime forced labor.

On Monday, President Moon Jae-in urged Japan to withdraw export restrictions that hurt South Korea’s semiconductors and display panels industries and called for sincere negotiations between the two countries.

The Japanese government has removed Korea from the list of countries that receive preferential treatment in importing fluorine polyimide, resist and etching gas from Japanese firms.

Speaking to lawmakers during the first day of the interpellation session, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon on Tuesday criticized Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent remark suggesting South Korea may not be complying with trade restrictions against the North.

Appearing on Japanese television Sunday, Abe said it was natural to suspect that South Korea may not abide by related UN resolutions, saying the South has not adhered to the accord on settling problems associated with Japan’s 1910-1945 colonization of Korea.

“(Abe’s remark) is a dangerous comment that could threaten the security order that we have been maintaining for a long time,” Lee said.

The United Nations Security Council has assessed South Korea as faithfully implementing sanctions resolutions imposed on North Korea, he said.

Meanwhile, Japan is reportedly planning another round of export curbs for South Korea that could target a broader range of items that could include those used in weapons production, including machine tools.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Economics

U.S. lawmaker supports Taiwan arms sales

China has protested the sale in strong terms. Representative Michael McCaul, member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on July 14 that the committee approved a recent U.S. arms sales to Taiwan in response to increased Chinese “aggression.” Speaking to Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures, the Texas Congressman, who was one of the lawmakers to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday during her layover in New York, said “Chinese are getting very aggressive in Hong Kong, as you just heard. They are also getting very aggressive in Taiwan.” Green-lighting the arms sale, McCaul said, sends a very strong message to China. “We’re going to arm Taiwan, so she can defend herself from what’s become a very aggressive Chinese Communist Party right on their doorstep,” the Republican told host Maria Bartiromo. The U.S. announced July 8 a US$2.22 billion arms package to Taiwan th


By ANN Members
July 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

S. Korean biz groups in emergency mode

Japan has ban the export of high tech materials to South Korea. South Korea’s major business groups are shifting to emergency mode, setting detailed contingency plans for a variety of scenarios amid concerns that the restrictions on exports of key tech materials from Japan to Korea could stay in place for a long time, according to the industry on Monday. The leaders of the country’s five biggest conglomerates — Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor Group, SK Group, LG Group and Lotte Group — are tightening their reins on the groups’ operations, bracing for possible ripple effects on the global economy and business environment as a result of Japan’s decision. Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is spearheading an array of contingency plans. After coming back from a six-day trip to Tokyo last week, Lee convened a meeting with the top brass of the company’s semiconducto


By The Korea Herald
July 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

Chinese economy grows at slowest rate in decades

Growth slumps to 27-year low in China, with talk of more aggressive stimulus measures. China’s economy grew 6.2 per cent in the second quarter of this year, its slowest rate in 27 years, as the country’s trade war with the United States exacted its toll. Analysts said they expect economic growth to continue to weaken for the rest of this year, which would likely prompt more aggressive stimulus measures from Beijing. Data released on Monday (July 15) by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that gross domestic product growth in the second quarter had slowed from 6.4 per cent in the first quarter of this year, coming in largely within expectations. The economy grew by 6.3 per cent for the first half of the year, according to the NBS. The figure is still within the 6 to 6.5 per cent target that Beijing has set for full year GDP growth. Last year, Chin


By The Straits Times
July 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

China assures foreign firms amid tensions

Beijing says investments continue despite trade war. The Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday that there is no massive withdrawal of foreign investment from China, and vowed that the country will firmly protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign enterprises in the country. “We’ve noticed the concerns of some foreign enterprises, but based on our knowledge the country has not seen large-scale withdrawal of investment by foreign companies,” said ministry spokesman Gao Feng at a news briefing. His remark came amid media reports that said some foreign companies are considering moving out of China to avoid being adversely affected by the ongoing Sino-US trade conflict. “China will not suppress any foreign-funded enterprises and will not discriminate against any of them,” Gao said. “We will resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of all fo


By China Daily
July 15, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

Japan sees decline in value-added trade surplus with Korea

Tokyo’s export curbs to negatively impact global economy due to correlated trade structure. Japan’s trade surplus in value-added goods and services (TiVA) with South Korea took a downturn during the 2005-2015 period, reflecting the diversifying structure of logistics and trade, statistics showed Sunday. In light of the interconnection of the global value chain, the country’s recent curbs on hi-tech exports to Korea are likely to affect not only the two countries but also the regional and global economy in general, Seoul’s government officials noted.\ According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, Japan logged $135.2 billion in aggregated TiVA from 2005 to 2015. Its total trade surplus during the same period stood at $303.2 billion. TiVA, in international trade is equivalent to operating profits of corporate business transactions, figuring out the value added by eac


By The Korea Herald
July 15, 2019

Diplomacy, Economics

India, Russia discuss joint production of space systems

The two countries met to discuss joint-cooperation projects. India and Russia on Friday discussed the possibilities for the production of space systems in India as part of the ‘Make in India’ programme. Director General of Russia’s ROSCOSMOS and former Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin held detailed high-level talks with National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval on all aspects of the India-Russia space cooperation. Senior representatives of ROSCOSMOS, GLAVCOSMOS, Energia and Energomash were present from the Russian side while the Secretary, Space and the Director of the Human Space Flight Programme were present from the Indian side, besides other senior officials. Both sides agreed to take a strategic approach to elevate bilateral cooperation to the next level keeping in view the special and privileged partnership between the two countries. Cooperation in futuristic technologies, includ


By The Statesman
July 15, 2019