Trade minister calls Japan’s export restrictions on Korea ‘groundless’
July 26, 2019
Global Korean Post
By Park Hye Ri and Lee Jihae
Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Sung Yunmo on July 24 urged Japan to lift its export curbs on Korea that were implemented on July 4 and scrap plans to remove Korea from a whitelist of countries qualifying for minimum restrictions and preferential treatment in trade with Japan.
In a news briefing at Government Complex Seoul, he said the ministry sent a letter to the Japanese government on the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s announcement on July 1 of a bill on further curbing exports to Korea.
“We deeply regret that the Japanese government has, without prior notification, announced the upcoming legislation of a bill so grave that it would jeopardize the very foundation of economic cooperation and mutual trust between the two countries.”
He also called “groundless” Japan’s allegations that Korea’s export regulations are both harmful to bilateral trust and inadequate.
“Japan is accusing Korea’s conventional catch-all regulations (that restrict the sale and distribution of all materials that could potentially be used in weapon production) of being weak because it fails to fully understand Korea’s export regulation system,” the minister said.
“Korea has adopted all guidelines on catch-all regulations of the Wassenaar Agreement, Nuclear Suppliers Group, Australia Group and Missile Technology Control Regime, all of which are international groups on export regulations.”
“Given that even countries that have not adopted conventional catch-all regulations are included on the whitelist, Japan is unfairly raising issue only with Korea,” he added.
Sung also criticized Tokyo for saying Seoul broke bilateral trust by not holding a joint meeting on export regulations, saying, “In high-level bilateral talks in May last year, Japan raised no issue with Korea’s export regulation system.”
“Korea’s management of export regulations is based on close cooperation between professional organizations in relevant fields such as the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, Defense Acquisition Program Administration and others.”
“Excluding Korea from the whitelist violates international standards and will have severe consequences for the global value chain and free trade,” he said. “Korea is open to holding dialogue anywhere and anytime not only to resolve this situation but for the future-oriented improvement of bilateral ties with Japan.”
Japan on July 24 is scheduled to hold a debate on the bill and make a decision in a cabinet meeting. Should the bill pass, it will take effect within 21 days.