News Article

South Korean PM Moon’s break cancelled to deal with Japan spat

Ministers plan talks in Bangkok this week to mediate 'White List' issue

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has abandoned his summer break as Japan is ready to drop Seoul from its preferential “white list” on Friday, putting pressure on Korean businesses that depend strongly on Japanese semiconductor, screen and automotive parts and equipment.

Presidential Blue House said on Sunday that after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives from his holidays on Tuesday, Moon cancelled his five-day holiday planned for this week as the Japanese govt is anticipated to exclude South Korea from the roster at a Cabinet conference.

“President Moon will function as normal in his cabinet,” the Blue House said to correspondents in an SMS email. “But the chairman let representatives leave their vacations as scheduled.” It’s the first occasion Moon cancels his trip while in power.

Removing from the roster implies Japanese businesses must obtain prior public permission before exporting to South Korea, stopping export processes and impeding South Korean producers ‘ activities, including Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix and Hyundai Motor.

Analysts claim Moon is going to concentrate on how Tokyo’s increasing pressures can be defused. Japan has challenged the export control scheme of South Korea, suspecting that Seoul has failed to prevent the smuggling of hazardous products into North Korea.

At last week’s World Trade Organization in Geneva, the two sides discussed the situation. South Korea said previously this month that Japan breached WTO rules by limiting imports of three chemical products. Tokyo said it had nothing to do with trade laws in its intervention.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha from South Korea will attempt to convince Japan to remain on the white list when she encounters Japanese partner Taro Kono subsequent this week at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Bangkok.

Also, Seoul expects Washington to press Japan for it, but the U.S. has not explained its stance on the issue.

As the rift between the two nations expands, Japanese companies are increasingly experiencing South Korean customers ‘ boycotts that regard Tokyo’s step as a kind of “attack.” Fitch Solutions Macro Research said Toyota would bear the brunt of the dispute’s failure, while German car manufacturers would profit. “We point out that the Toyota Group is the most vulnerable because the Lexus and Toyota products have the two largest export business stocks among Japanese products,” Fitch said in a study.

“If customers are looking for luxury branded cars, the established European companies such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW are in a powerful situation to profit from the customer reaction against their Japanese competitors.”

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