Global criticism growing over Japan’s export restrictions on Korea
July 26, 2019
Global Korean Post
By Yoon Sojung
Japan’s recent export restrictions on Korea are starting to attract global criticism.
The Washington-based American Enterprise Institute said in the June 23 column “Japan, back off on Korea: Samsung and Hynix are not Huawei” by Claude Barfield, “Japan’s restrictions on Korean companies’ access to vital elements necessary for manufacturing semiconductor chips and other electronics abuses national security justification for trade restrictions.”
“It (Japan’s restrictions) could hurt efforts at building meaningful competition against Huawei in the 5G wireless space.”
Calling Samsung “a potentially large player in the future of 5G wireless,” Barfield said, “Samsung could develop into a potent third option over the next several years. The bottom line is that any actions by U.S. allies that could jeopardize such an option should be forcefully opposed.”
Citing talks at the World Trade Organization on this issue, he wrote, “Whatever the decision on the negotiating forum, it is imperative that (Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo) Abe be persuaded (pressured) to suspend the export prohibition of vital high-tech materials to South Korean companies.”
On the same day, six leading trade associations for American electronics also urged both Seoul and Tokyo to make joint efforts to resolve their dispute in a letter written to the trade authorities of both countries. The six included the Semiconductor Industry Association and the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International.
Dubbing Japan’s restrictions “non-transparent and unilateral changes in export control policies,” the six bodies said a trade dispute involving both countries could damage the global value chain in the information and communications technology and manufacturing industries.
“We also urge all countries to rely on multilateral approaches to ensure that changes to export control policies are based on national security concerns and implemented in a transparent, objective, and predictable manner,” the letter said.
In the U.K., The Economist criticized Japan’s restrictions in its July 18 article “A trade dispute between Japan and Korea has Trumpian echoes,” saying, “Japan’s decision to limit exports is economically shortsighted.”
The London-based consulting firm IHS also expressed dismay with Japan’s measures in its July 14 report titled “Impacts of Japan’s export curb against South Korea.” “The Japanese trade measures taken against South Korea will add to global trade tensions at a time when Asia’s export sector is already facing strong headwinds from U.S.-China trade negotiations as well as the slowdown in the global electronics sector’s new orders,” it said.