Japan could be officially dropped from South Korea’s white country list for preferential fast-track export clearance as early as next week.
In a press briefing on Monday, an official at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said that the ministry is making the final touches on revisions to the country status on strategic goods clearance.
The trade ministry earlier announced that it will divide the top-tier list of countries receiving preferential treatment for exports into two groups. Japan would be moved to the second group.
Countries listed in the new second group of the top-tier category are subject to some documental procedures and case-by-case approval from the government.
The Japanese industry ministry last week questioned the rationale behind Korea’s decision to reexamine Japan’s preferential trade status, saying it is apparent tit-for-tat action to Tokyo’s earlier revocation of Seoul’s trusted trade status.
“Without answering questions on its rationales and details, the revision would be assumed as arbitrary and illegitimate countermeasures to Japan," the ministry said in a statement.
The Korean government echoed the same explanation its Japanese counterpart has given when it had challenged Tokyo for removing Korea from the white country list – the move did not have any retaliatory intention and was for stronger management of exports.
Japan removed Korea from its trade whitelist on Aug. 28 after it tightened exports of three materials essential for the production of semiconductors and displays in early July. Japan’s move is seen as retaliatory actions against Korea after Seoul court rulings ordering Japanese companies to compensate Koreans for forced wartime labor.
By Lim Sung-hyun and Lee Ha-yeon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]