South Korea’s Trade Ministry has started a review of the legal grounds for filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Japan’s decision to tighten the rules for exports of semiconductor and display materials to Seoul, a government official said on July 3.
“We believe that Japan’s measure can be considered an act of controlling exports, which is strictly banned by the WTO,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “The related departments have already begun administrative work on the issue.”
Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee canceled her business trip to Latin America scheduled for this week, apparently to deal with the trade row with Japan.
In a major escalation of a long-simmering diplomatic row over compensation for wartime forced labor, Japan abruptly announced earlier this week that it will tighten regulations on exports to Korea of hi-tech chemicals used in semiconductor and smartphone production.
In response, South Korea’s Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo vowed to take “necessary” steps, including filing a complaint with the WTO, describing the Japanese move as an “economic retaliation.”
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)