Seoul, Aug 12 (IANS) South Korea on Monday decided to remove Japan from its list of trusted trading partners, upping the ante in the trade haggling sparked by the neighbouring country’s export restrictions against Seoul.
South Korea’s Trade Ministry said it will revamp its export list into three groups of trading partners from the current two, placing Tokyo in the newly established bracket, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Tokyo had been on Seoul’s top-tier list of 29 countries subject to preferential export procedures, which are members of the world’s top four export control agreements.
The newly-established bracket, between the two existing groups, is for a country that participates in the four international agreements “but operates an export control system that violates international norms”, according to the Ministry.
“We need to put an export control system into operation considering the fact that it is hard to work closely with a country that frequently violates basic rules of export controls or that operates an unlawful system,” South Korea’s Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.
Under the revamped criteria, local companies shipping strategic goods to Japan will have to hand in five different documents to win individual approval, which is two more than the current three. The approval process will also take around 15 days, which will be significantly longer than the current five.
The new classification will be implemented around September after gathering public opinion for 20 days, according to the Ministry.
Japan promulgated a revised bill last week that also removed South Korea from its own list of trusted trading partners, which will come into effect later in August.
The trade row between the Asian neighbours emerged to the surface in July as Japan abruptly implemented curbs of exporting three key materials crucial for the production of semiconductors and display panels to South Korea, dealing a harsh blow to major tech giants, including Samsung Electronics Co.
Tokyo’s export curbs came in protest against the South Korean top court’s rulings that ordered some of Japanese companies, including the Nippon Steel and the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries among others, to compensate the South Korean victims who were forced into hard labour without pay during the colonization.