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South Korea to remove Japan from whitelist next week

Posted September. 10, 2019 07:40,   

Updated September. 10, 2019 07:40


South Korea is set to remove Japan from its whitelist of trusted trading partners around mid-September.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy said on Monday that it is in the final stage of revision and is planning to announce the revised act in its official gazette as early as next week. An official at the ministry said the revision was reviewed last week after collecting opinions and the ministry is currently putting the finishing touches to it.

The South Korean government made the pre-announcement of legislative revision to the Public Notice on Trade of Strategic Items on August 14, removing Japan from the whitelist of nations called Group A and putting it into a newly established Group A-2, and had gathered opinions on the decision until last Tuesday.

Under the revision, countries in Group A-2 are practically tantamount to countries in Group B, which are not members of the four multilateral export control regimes, such as the Wassenaar Agreement. A “comprehensive approval” will only be granted to countries in exceptional cases, for example, if a country signed a long-term export agreement of more than two years. But the comprehensive approval, which currently lasts for three years, will be valid only for two years. Those countries listed in lower groups will have to earn government approval for each shipment of 1,138 non-sensitive items, which were originally subject to comprehensive approval.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry submitted its opinion to South Korea on last Tuesday, the last day of opinion-gathering, and made a protest by saying, “Without answering questions on its rationales and details, the revision would be assumed as arbitrary and illegitimate countermeasures to Japan.” In response, the South Korean government said it revised its relevant act to strengthen export controls for countries that violate the basic principles of the international export control regimes, thereby making international cooperation difficult.

Hye-Ryung Choi herstory@donga.com