South Korea will lodge WTO complaint over Japan's export curbs

South Korea will lodge WTO complaint over Japan's export curbs

"We have chose to complain about Japan's measures at the WTO.to prevent the act of abusing trade for political purposes from recurring", South Korea's Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee said at a briefing.

South Korean Olympic officials last month urged the local organizing committee to ban the flag, but Tokyo organizers responded by saying it was widely used in Japan, was not considered a political statement and "it is not viewed as a prohibited item".

The move comes just hours after WTO ruled for a second time that South Korea's anti-dumping duties on Japanese valves violate worldwide trade rules, according to a decision published on the WTO website. Japan believes the issue of compensation was settled under a 1965 treaty. These materials are used by South Korean tech firms such as Samsung Electronics.

In addition, Japan has changed export procedures for three materials that were traded freely with an general permit so that now they require individual permits. Yoo said Japan approved the shipments of the materials only three times since the measures took effect on July 4.

"Japan's export restriction on the three materials were based on political motivation related to rulings by our Supreme Court on forced labor", Yoo said at a news conference.

Yoo emphasized that South Korea wishes to resolve the issue through bilateral talks with Japan.

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Hiroshige Seko, Japan's minister of economy, trade and industry, told reporters in Tokyo he thought hardly any WTO member countries were sympathetic to South Korea's position.

Yoo also said South Korea was considering "all options" in response to Tokyo's decision to drop Korea from the so-called white list of preferred trading partners.

The panel deferred a decision on Japan's claim that South Korea had flaws in its analysis on Japanese valves excessively pushing down market prices.

Experts expect Japan to launch complaints at the WTO over Korea's planned export curbs.

Following the defeat, Japan's Foreign Ministry is seeking to boost lobbying activities at the WTO, requesting to more than double its budget for its operations linked to the organization for the next fiscal year to March 2021.

"They should resolve the matter politically and diplomatically, but chances are low for such a resolution because both governments are using the dispute to their own political advantage", said Cheong In-kyo, an economics professor at Inha University.

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