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August 5, 2019

Japan Launches New Trade Action Against South Korea While Engaging With United States

Last Friday CNN reported that the Japanese government planned to remove South Korea from its list of preferred trading partners as of August 28, 2019. The news network said, “The decision to remove South Korea from a so-called white list means that Japanese exports to South Korea now require additional screening to make sure they are not used for weapons and military applications.”

Specifically, according to CNBC, Japanese exporters are now required to apply for licenses for some individual shipments to South Korea. CNBC said the move includes “exports of chemicals mostly used for making refrigerants, pharmaceutical intermediates, metals manufacturing, and sometimes semi-conductor preparations.” That measure went into effect last Thursday, August 1.

The South Korean government promised to retaliate and in a statement on Twitter called Japan’s decision an “all-out declaration of economic war on our country.”

The announcement came as Japanese Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi was in Washington for talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to discuss a limited trade agreement covering agriculture, automobiles and digital trade.