Trade Ministry to file WTO complaint over Japan’s export restrictions


Trade Ministry to file WTO complaint over Japan’s export restrictions


Sep. 13, 2019

Global Korean Post


By Xu Aiying and Lee Jihae

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on Sept. 11 that it will file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over Japan’s export curbs imposed on July 4.

Trade Minister Yu Myung-hee, the government’s chief free trade negotiator, told a news briefing at Government Complex Seoul, “The government decided to protect the country’s interests and file a complaint with the WTO over Japan’s measures so that political misuse of trade shall not recur.”

Yu called Japan’s export restrictions “a political reaction” against the Korean Supreme Court’s ruling last year that ordered Japanese corporations to pay damages to Korean victims of forced labor in the early 20th century. She said such actions directly targeting Korea are discriminatory.

The process for filing a complaint with the WTO begins when a letter from Seoul requesting a bilateral agreement with Tokyo reaches the Japanese Embassy in Geneva and the WTO secretariat.

The letter specifies three main aspects: 1) Japan is pushing to make compulsory individual export permission for three key semiconductor and display components, which infringes on the fundamental prohibition of discrimination as specified by the WTO and its duty on treating preferential trading countries; 2) this violates the obligations that entail the establishment, maintenance or prohibition of export restrictions; and 3) the trade curbs are arbitrary and political.

The WTO’s appellate body on Sept. 10 ruled that Korea’s anti-dumping duties on Japanese pneumatic valves do not violate WTO standards for the most part, thus siding with Seoul.