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S. Korea, Japan to wrap up removal of export curbs, WTO complaint this week

Adlet Seilkhanov
22 March 2023, 12:43

S. Korea, Japan to wrap up removal of export curbs, WTO complaint this week Photo:

SEOUL. KAZINFORM - South Korea and Japan are expected to wrap up necessary procedures this week to lift export restrictions and withdraw a complaint with the World Trade Organization on the issue, Seoul's industry chief said Wednesday, Kazinform cites Yonhap.

Last week, Japan vowed to lift export curbs on key industrial materials to South Korea, which had been in place since July 2019 in apparent retaliation against the South Korean Supreme Court rulings in 2018 that ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation to victims of Japan's forced labor during its 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea.

In response, South Korea announced its decision to withdraw a complaint it filed with the WTO against Japan on the issue, as the two sides agreed to improve strained bilateral ties amid decadeslong rows over shared historical and other issues during last week's summit talks between President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

«Necessary procedures for those issues will be completed within this week,» Industry Minister Lee Chang-yang told reporters. «We will also get down to a process of revising rules for swiftly putting Japan back onto our trade whitelist and have consultations with Japan regarding the matter.»

Following the summit meeting, Seoul and Tokyo also agreed to have close consultations on reinstating each other to their respective «whitelist» of trusted trading partners.

In 2019, Japan also removed South Korea from the list of nations with fast-track trade status, requiring tough screening on exporting hundreds of «strategic items» that could potentially be diverted for military use.

In a tit-for-tat move, South Korea delisted Japan from its trade partners given preferential treatment.

«South Korea and Japan were able to resume government-level consultations after a yearslong hiatus, which is expected to boost cooperation between companies of the two nations and to reinvigorate sizeable investment,» Lee said, stressing joint work with Japan will help South Korea better respond to global challenges.

A series of reconciliatory measures came after the Yoon government announced plans earlier this month to compensate victims of Japan's wartime forced labor without asking Japan for contributions.

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