Japan and South Korea and have reached an agreement to discuss their current trade war in December, with a preparatory meeting due to be held in Vienna in the week to come.
In a statement, South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy highlighted that
During the December meeting, the two countries plan to exchange opinions on various domestic and external situations related to export control.
Reuters reports that the talks would include Japan’s tighter rules on the export of three high-tech materials to South Korea since July and its removal of Seoul from its so-called “white list” of countries with fast-track trade status.
This comes shortly after a meeting between trade officials from the two nations, which took place in Seoul.
According to Reuters, Lee Ho-hyun, a South Korean senior trade ministry official said that the mood at the meeting was more friendly than a similar meeting shortly after Tokyo imposed the export restrictions.
In fact, in August, Japan’s cabinet approved a plan to remove South Korea from a “white list” of trusted trading partners, escalating the already damaged diplomatic relations between the two states in regard to wartime reparations.
This decisions came amid the escalating trade war between the world’s most powerful economies, US and China, and is expected to further disrupt supply chains.
Starting from 28 August, the decision applied stricter approvals process to an expanded list of materials that could be diverted to military use.
In response, South Korea officially excluded Japan from its list of trade partners affecting the latter’s fast-track approvals in trade, meaning that South Korean companies have to submit five documents to win individual approval, which is more than the previous three, Yonhap news agency has reported.
What is more, South Koreans have been boycotting Japanese products such as beers, cosmetics and cars, while also tourism to Japan has been forbidden.
Overall, the dispute between the two countries is a result of South Korea’s expectations for compensation for forced labor and sexual slavery by Japan before and during World War II.
On November 1, South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced that Korea’s exports decreased 14.7% to $46.8 billion in October compared to the previous year.
Adding to this, imports endured a decline of 14.6% to $41.4 billion, resulting in a trade balance of a surplus of $5.4 billion.