WTO top court backs Japan in case against S.Korea duties

11 Septembre, 2019, 13:07 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • South Korea to lodge WTO complaint over Japan's export curbs

South Korea will file a complaint on Wednesday (Sept 11) with the World Trade Organisation against Japan's export curbs on key materials used by its neighbour's chip and display makers, South Korea's trade minister said in a statement.

Still, the decision is a welcome victory for Japan after the appellate body said in April that South Korea could uphold a ban on Japanese seafood imposed in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster amid concerns of radioactive contamination.

Seoul says Japan violated global trade rules when it tightened controls on shipments of three types of materials.

South Korea is lodging a complaint to the WTO regarding Japan's trade restrictions. accusing Tokyo of being "politically motivated". They are used to make high-tech products, including semiconductors. Japan believes the issue of compensation was settled under a 1965 treaty.

In addition, Japan has changed export procedures for three materials that were traded freely with an general permit so that now they require individual permits.

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"Seoul's complaint will not lead Japan to drop its tighter export curbs on the three items, but this will certainly put pressure on Japan to cautiously implement the measures", said Ahn Duk-geun, a professor at Seoul National University.

Only three shipments have been approved since Tokyo took action on July 4, she said. If Japan refuses the consultations or if the talks fail, South Korea could request a WTO panel ruling on the dispute.

Following an angry reaction from Washington, Seoul later said it could reconsider its decision to end the military agreement, which remains in effect until November, if Japan relists South Korea as a favored trade partner.

The measures, which weeks later were followed by Japan's move to exclude South Korea from its "white list" of countries with fast-track trade status, triggered a full-blown diplomatic row that saw relations sink to a low unseen in decades.

Following the defeat, Japan's Foreign Ministry is seeking to boost lobbying activities at the WTO, requesting to more than double its budget for its operations linked to the organization for the next fiscal year to March 2021.

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