Trade Ministry pushes Japan to lift trade restrictions

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Trade Ministry pushes Japan to lift trade restrictions

Lee Ho-hyeon, the Trade Ministry's director-general for international trade policy, asks the Japanese government to roll back export restrictions, placed on Korea in July 2019, Tuesday at the ministry's headquarters in Sejong. [YONHAP]

Lee Ho-hyeon, the Trade Ministry's director-general for international trade policy, asks the Japanese government to roll back export restrictions, placed on Korea in July 2019, Tuesday at the ministry's headquarters in Sejong. [YONHAP]

The Korean government on Tuesday asked Japan to respond by the end of the month to its request to lift export restrictions imposed on three key materials that Korea uses to produce some of its top products, including semiconductors, smartphones and displays. 
  
“We’re asking the Japanese government to respond by the end of this month, considering Japan is in a Covid-19 emergency situation,” said the Korean Trade Ministry’s director-general for international trade policy Lee Ho-hyeon on Tuesday.  
 
He said the Korean government has met all of the Japanese government's requests, including addressing the island nation's claims of lax export controls, which Japan had last year cited as a threat to its national security.  
 
Lee said in the last 10 months since the Japanese government tightened its export controls on the three key materials for semiconductor and display production — EUV photoresists, hydrogen fluoride and fluorinated polyimide — “healthy” export practices had been established. He noted the Japanese government has granted Korea three-year bulk permits on photoresists.
 
“No problems have occurred regarding [Japanese] exports to Korea,” Lee said. “All necessary conditions to resolve the issue with the Japanese government have been met and there are no reasons for hesitating in the roll-back on the strengthened export regulations.”  
 
The director-general for international trade policy did not indicate what recourse Korea would seek if Japan fails to respond by the end of the month.
 
“Both countries are faced with difficult situations in overcoming Covid-19,” Lee said. “As there are many areas in which both countries should cooperate, we hope that Korea and Japan will move forward in a more advanced direction while quickly finalizing the export issue.”  
 
BY LEE HO-JEONG   [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
 

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