S. Korea eyes direct approach to Japan curbs alongside WTO action

입력시간 : 2019-07-21 17:49:09 , 최종수정 : 2019-07-24 19:32:55, 이호진 기자

S. Korea eyes direct approach 

to Japan curbs alongside WTO 


South Korea is sparing no efforts to persuade the international community to press Japan to withdraw its export restrictions on hi-tech materials and impugn Tokyo’s reasoning behind its retaliatory measures.

Early this month, Japan announced it would curb exports on Korea’s hi-tech materials crucial to the production of chips and display panels. It also said it plans to remove South Korea from a whitelist of 27 countries that receive preferential treatment for trade with Japan. The Japanese Cabinet will consider a revision of the relevant legislation after pooling opinions by Wednesday.

Also this week, at the request of the Korean government, the World Trade Organization’s General Council is slated to discuss the two nations’ trade dispute at its meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The general council, which is the WTO’s highest decision-making body in Geneva, is not the main body to settle trade disputes. But the Korean government aims to inform other members of the unfair measures taken by Japan before officially taking it to the Dispute Settlement Body.

In its complaint, the Korean government is likely to quote articles of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade -- which are still in effect under the WTO framework -- to counter Japan’s moves to exclude it from the whitelist and its restrictions on key tech materials.

GATT was a legal agreement between many countries, whose overall purpose was to promote international trade by reducing or eliminating trade barriers such as tariffs or quotas. Although it was succeeded by the WTO in 1995, the original text is still binding.

Article 1 of GATT specifies that a country must offer the same terms to the whole world, not just one country. Article 11 prohibits quantitative restrictions on the importation or the exportation of any product among member nations.

The representatives are expected to be Ambassador Paik Ji-ah, Seoul’s top envoy at its permanent mission in Geneva, and Shingo Yamagami, director-general of Tokyo’s Foreign Ministry’s economic affairs bureau.

Alongside the council, South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy plans to deliver an opinion this week to the Japanese government to press it to withdraw the export curbs.

“The opinion will be a synthesis of the iniquity of Japan’s measures on export curbs. It will include all the grounds and evidence that can back the stance of the Korean government,” said an official of the Industry Ministry. 

Following working-level talks between the two nations on July 12, which ended without progress, the South Korean officials have continued to suggest holding another meeting before Wednesday, but have not received a reply. Wednesday is the deadline for the Japanese government to gather opinions on the amendment of its presidential decree, which will determine whether it excludes Korea from its whitelist.

Amid the escalating trade row with Japan, impact of the US-China trade war and global electronics sector downturn, Korea saw a sharp fall in exports from January to April this year.

The world’s seventh-largest exporter reached $181 billion in exports from January to April, a 6.9 percent drop from the same period last year. Japan also saw a 5.6 percent slump during the same period. 

Rajiv Biswas, Asia-Pacific chief economist at IHS Markit, said any protracted disruption of Japanese exports of the key materials to Korea could disrupt the global electronics supply chain since the country is a dominant global producer of memory components used in many electronics products.

“If the bilateral trade frictions significantly disrupt Korea’s electronics supply chain, this could be a further negative factor for the global electronics industry outlook.”


한국, WTO 조치와 함께 일본에 대한 직접적인 접근을 억제한다.

한국은 국제 사회가 일본에 하이테크 재료에 대한 수출 제한을 철회하고 보복 조치를 취한 이유를 부인하도록 설득하려는 노력을 아끼지 않고있다.

이달 초 일본은 칩 및 디스플레이 패널 생산에 핵심적인 한국의 첨단 소재에 대한 수출을 억제 할 것이라고 발표했다. 또한 일본과의 교역 특혜를받는 27 개국의 허용 목록에서 한국을 제거 할 계획이라고 밝혔다. 일본 내각은 수요일까지 의견을 모으고 관련법 개정안을 검토 할 예정이다.

또한 이번 주 세계 무역기구 (WTO) 총회에서 한국 정부의 요청에 따라 화요일과 수요일에 열린 양국 간 무역 분쟁을 논의 할 예정이다.

제네바에서 WTO의 최고 의사 결정기구 인 총회는 무역 분쟁을 해결할 주체가 아니다. 그러나 한국 정부는 공식적으로 분쟁 해결기구에 회부하기 전에 일본이 취한 불공정 한 조치에 대해 다른 회원들에게 알리는 것을 목표로 삼고있다.