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WTO to formally discuss Japan's export curbs on S. Korea

All News 20:38 July 14, 2019

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- Japan's export restrictions on advanced tech materials that could undermine South Korea's production of semiconductors will be formally discussed at the World Trade Organization, South Korea's commerce ministry said Sunday.

The issue has been named a formal agenda item of the WTO General Council, the highest decision-making body of the WTO in Geneva, and will be discussed when the council meets from July 23-24, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The move comes at a request from Seoul, which earlier referred the issue to the WTO Council for Trade in Goods.

Tokyo announced its export restrictions earlier in the month, tightening exports to South Korea of three tech materials used to produce semiconductors and display panels.

Seoul insists the move is politically motivated as Japan has long demanded the nullification of a Seoul court decision that ordered Japanese companies to compensate their South Korean workers forced into labor during World War II.

Japan's export restrictions are widely expected to disrupt global supplies of semiconductors and display panels, both key export items of South Korea.

"It is meaningful in that Japan's export curbs will be formally discussed at the General Council, the highest decision-making body of the WTO except for the ministerial meeting," the ministry said.

"The country will work to enhance the understanding of other WTO members and win their support," it added.

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