The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced that the South Korean and Japanese governments had their first bilateral negotiations on Japan’s export curbs in Geneva, Switzerland on Oct. 11 (local time). The two sides failed to reach an agreement in the first stage of the WTO dispute settlement process and are going to have additional talks.
At the negotiations, the South Korean government pointed out the unfairness of Japan’s measure and its non-compliance with WTO rules, urging Japan to stop the measure.
The Japanese government said that South Korea brought the issue to the WTO for political reasons and this was inappropriate. “We are concerned over the structural vulnerability of South Korea’s export management, and we permit the export of certain items once it is confirmed that they are not used for military purposes, which means our measure is no embargo,” it asserted, adding, “In addition, our measure is no retaliation against the South Korean Supreme Court’s ruling on wartime labor.”
The Japanese government also said that the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) between South Korea and Japan has nothing to do with the negotiations in the WTO. The two sides are going to fix the schedule of the second round of negotiations via diplomatic channels.