Japan decides to revoke South Korea's preferential trade status

02, Aug. 2019

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono (L) and his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung Wha shake hands ahead of their talks on Aug. 1, 2019, in Bangkok on the sidelines of ASEAN-related meetings)
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono (L) and his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung Wha shake hands ahead of their talks on Aug. 1, 2019, in Bangkok on the sidelines of ASEAN-related meetings)

TOKYO, Kyodo - Japan decided Friday to revoke South Korea's preferential status as a trade partner for the purchase of products that could be diverted for military use, Cabinet members said.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved plans to remove South Korea from a “white list” of countries, raising the stakes in a bitter diplomatic row between the neighbors that includes wartime history as well as trade policy.

The removal of South Korea from the list will take effect on Aug. 28 following necessary domestic procedures, Japanese trade minister Hiroshige Seko said at a press conference.

The United States has expressed concerns that the deepening animus between its two largest Asian allies could hurt their ability to deal with missile threats from North Korea.

Under the preferential arrangements, including simplified procedures, Japanese exporters can ship products and technology capable of being diverted for military use to 27 whitelisted countries such as Argentina, Australia, Britain, Germany, New Zealand and the United States.

But in what would make South Korea the first country to lose its position on Japan's white list after gaining the status in 2004, companies will need to obtain case-by-case approval from Japan's trade ministry before exporting to the neighboring country. (Kyodo)