200602_Ministry of trade industry and energy_Na

Na Seung-sik, deputy minister for trade and investment at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, on June 2 holds a media briefing on the government’s responses to and policy directions for Japan’s export restrictions on Korea at Government Complex-Sejong in Sejong. (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy)

By Lee Kyoung Mi and Yoon Sojung

The government will resume the process of filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) over Japan’s export restrictions. Seoul will request that the WTO set up a dispute settlement panel and proceed with the procedure.

At a media briefing on June 2 at Government Complex-Sejong in Sejong, Na Seung-sik, deputy minister for trade and investment at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, said the government decided to resume its WTO complaint process over Japan’s export curbs on three selected items that were temporarily halted on Nov. 22 last year.

To help resolve issues over export management control, both nations agreed late last year to resume director general-level talks and temporarily halt the complaint process as long as the two sides continued policy dialogue in a normal manner.

Deputy Minister Na emphasized that Korea has resolved all three reasons Japan cited for applying the export restrictions: suspension in bilateral policy dialogue, the lack of control of “catch-all” regulations restricting the sale and distribution of materials potentially usable in weapons production, and insufficient personnel and organizations for managing exports. He also added that no security concerns occurred.

“Despite this situation, the Japanese government has shown no intent to resolve the problems,” he said. “We judged that the current situation, which was originally a requirement for the suspension of the WTO dispute settlement process, cannot be seen as a normal course of dialogue.”

Through the process, the official said the Korean government will objectively prove the illegality and injustice of Japan’s export restrictions on the three materials — photoresist, hydrogen fluoride and fluorine polyimide — to protect the legitimate interest of Korean companies.

“We will gather all capacity to respond to the issue so that all uncertainty affecting the companies of both countries and the supply chain can be quickly resolved,” he added.

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