Trade ministry urges director general-level talks on Japan’s export curbs
July 19, 2019
Global Korean Post
By Jung Joo-ri and Lee Jihae
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on July 19 denied Japan’s allegations used to justify Tokyo’s export curbs on Korea and urged a return to normalcy and consultations between the two countries.
In a news briefing at Government Complex Seoul, Lee Ho-hyun, director general of the ministry’s trade policy bureau, said, “Japan asserts that Korea and Japan have had no bilateral agreement in the past three years on trade regulations, and that both sides have had no opportunity to exchange opinions because the Korean government ignored Japan’s consistent requests for talks. But these allegations are false.”
On delayed negotiations on bilateral trade regulations, Lee said, “The two countries have been unable to hold such a meeting due to scheduling issues, but are fully aware of their schedule incompatibility. Both sides agreed in December last year to hold a meeting on concluding a trade regulation agreement after March this year.”
Since 2012, the official added, Korea has always attended an annual international conference hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. In this event, Seoul explained to Tokyo as well as other attending governments Korea’s trade regulation systems.
Lee emphasized that such efforts shows Korea has consistently held consultations with Japan, apart from director general-level ones in which both countries exchanged opinions.
Japan has criticized the inefficiency of Korea’s “catch-all regulations,” which restrict the sales and distribution of all materials that could potentially be used in weapons production. On this claim, Lee said, “In the Wassenaar Arrangement of 2015, Korea explained to Japan that we, through our catch-all regulations, prevent the military use of non-strategic materials.”
“We ask Japan to stop making groundless attacks on Korea’s catch-all regulations.”
The official also said that in bilateral director-level talks on July 12, Korea clearly urged things to go back to as they were, and that this meant more than just canceling export restrictions.
“We propose in-depth dialogue with Japan on Korea’s export regulation policy and its implementation,” he said.
“We once again urge Japan to earnestly respond to our call for a director level-level agreement.”