Japan formally removes Korea from trade whitelist
Aug. 30, 2019
Global Korean Post
By Min Yea-Ji and Kim Minji
Japan on Aug. 28 officially removed Korea from its whitelist of preferential trading partners.
Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Seko Hiroshige and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Aug. 27 told a news conference that as announced, Tokyo would effectuate its delisting of Korea from Aug. 28.
Thus procedures needed to export from Japan to Korea grew more difficult. Japanese companies must get case-by-case approval each time instead of once every three years under the previous system.
Japan’s stricter export controls will also be applied to non-strategic items that did not need approval before and have the potential of being used for military purposes. Depending on how the Japanese government manages things, the enforced curbs will be applied to most items except food and lumber.
High-ranking Japanese officials made statements justifying Korea’s removal from the whitelist. On worsening bilateral relations, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Aug. 27 told a news conference in Biarritz, France, after a G-7 summit, “We urge countries to keep promises made with each other,” referring to 1965 Korea-Japan Claims Settlement Agreement.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono added, “Korea needs to know that should it seek to rewrite history, this is impossible.”
In response, the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “Japan has violated World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and is carrying out economic retaliation that go against the G-20 summit statement that it chose while serving as the summit’s chair country.”
“Japan’s attempt to rewrite and deny dark and unfortunate history will never succeed.”
The day before Korea’s removal from Japan’s whitelist took effect, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said Seoul could reconsider its decision to terminate GSOMIA if Japan retracts what he called its “unfair measures.”
Korea left the door open for further talks with Japan until the last moment, but since the Japanese government failed to respond, Seoul will take full-fledged measures against the delisting.