South Korea to resume WTO complaint over Japan’s export controls

SEOUL (Reuters) — South Korea said on Tuesday that it decided to resume dispute settlement proceedings over Japan’s export controls, saying the two sides failed to make progress over talks to resolve the trade disputes rooted in wartime history.

In July, Japan imposed curbs on exports to South Korea of three materials used to make semiconductors and displays, threatening a pillar of the South Korean economy and the global supply chain of tech components.

South Korea in September complained to the World Trade Organization over Japan’s move, but in November suspended the proceedings for further talks.

“…The Japanese government has not shown commitment to resolving problems and talks to resolve pending issues are not making progress,” South Korea’s trade ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

On May 12, South Korea’s trade ministry urged Tokyo to disclose its “concrete position” on export controls by the end of May, saying it has taken steps to address Japan’s concerns about South Korea’s export management system.

Japan cited its concern about insufficient Korean controls on the materials for the move, although the curbs came as relations soured over a dispute over Japan’s wartime actions.

Japan’s trade minister said earlier on Tuesday that it is in dialogue with South Korea on export controls, declining to elaborate further.

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