August 14, 2019
South Korea has not placed Japan on a white-list of trade friendly countries.
The government plans to analyze how Japanese firms will be impacted by South Korea’s decision to remove Japan from its list of countries receiving preferential trade status. At this point, the dominant view is that the impact will be minimal because most sensitive materials can be imported from places other than South Korea, according to a person related to the government.
Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko criticized the South Korean decision in a Twitter post on Tuesday, saying, “Even after seeing a press conference of the South Korean side, it remains completely unclear on which grounds they can say Japan’s import and export control systems do not meet basic principles.”
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Masahisa Sato also said on Twitter Monday that he would confirm in detail the reasons behind South Korea’s decision, indicating the government intends to carefully watch how the situation will develop.
According to the Finance Ministry, imports from South Korea stood at about ¥3.48 trillion in fiscal 2018, making South Korea the fifth largest country in terms of imports. Major imports included petroleum products (about ¥510 billion), iron and steel products (about ¥340 billion) and electronic components related to semiconductors (about ¥210 billion).