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[ED] Resumed WTO proceedings

Japan should lift export controls as soon as possible

South Korea has decided to resume its complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over Japan's export curbs against some Korean firms, saying the two countries have failed to make progress in bilateral talks to resolve their trade dispute. "Japan has not shown a willingness to settle the dispute, and no progress has been made. We have reached the conclusion that we cannot proceed with normal negotiations (with Japan)," Na Seung-sik, head of the office of international trade and investment at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, said Tuesday.

The decision came six months after Seoul suspended the dispute-settlement process at the world trade body in November after the two countries agreed to begin consultations on the export controls imposed on shipments to South Korean companies of three key materials critical for their manufacture of semiconductors and display panels. This means that Seoul will end its stalled talks with Tokyo and revive its case with the WTO.

In mid-May, the government gave Tokyo until the end of May to respond to its call for the withdrawal of the export controls, stating that it had taken measures to address Japan's concerns about its export management system. Japan, however, had not delivered a clear answer by Sunday. It's hard to understand why Tokyo is sticking to its position even after South Korea tried its best to meet Japan's demands.

Although the Japanese government has never acknowledged it, the export curbs must be seen as a retaliatory measure against a ruling by the Supreme Court here in 2018 that ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation to Korean victims for their forced labor during wartime. The export controls must be lifted as soon as possible, given that the neighboring countries cannot build a future-oriented relationship without them being removed.

Once the WTO dispute complaint process is resumed, our government should strive to win the case by proving the unfairness and unlawfulness of Japan's trade actions. It's also imperative to reduce our dependence on Japanese components and materials by fostering related local industries.



Japan should lift export controls as soon as possible

South Korea has decided to resume its complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over Japan's export curbs against some Korean firms, saying the two countries have failed to make progress in bilateral talks to resolve their trade dispute. "Japan has not shown a willingness to settle the dispute, and no progress has been made. We have reached the conclusion that we cannot proceed with normal negotiations (with Japan)," Na Seung-sik, head of the office of international trade and investment at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, said Tuesday.

The decision came six months after Seoul suspended the dispute-settlement process at the world trade body in November after the two countries agreed to begin consultations on the export controls imposed on shipments to South Korean companies of three key materials critical for their manufacture of semiconductors and display panels. This means that Seoul will end its stalled talks with Tokyo and revive its case with the WTO.

In mid-May, the government gave Tokyo until the end of May to respond to its call for the withdrawal of the export controls, stating that it had taken measures to address Japan's concerns about its export management system. Japan, however, had not delivered a clear answer by Sunday. It's hard to understand why Tokyo is sticking to its position even after South Korea tried its best to meet Japan's demands.

Although the Japanese government has never acknowledged it, the export curbs must be seen as a retaliatory measure against a ruling by the Supreme Court here in 2018 that ordered Japanese companies to pay compensation to Korean victims for their forced labor during wartime. The export controls must be lifted as soon as possible, given that the neighboring countries cannot build a future-oriented relationship without them being removed.

Once the WTO dispute complaint process is resumed, our government should strive to win the case by proving the unfairness and unlawfulness of Japan's trade actions. It's also imperative to reduce our dependence on Japanese components and materials by fostering related local industries.




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