The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry held a seminar on economic issues in Seoul on Nov. 18. There, professor Ahn Deok-keun at the Graduate School of International Studies of Seoul National University stressed the importance of South Korea’s partnership with Japan.
“With trade disputes ongoing between the United States and China, Japan is South Korea’s best partner, and South Korean companies’ attempts to develop materials, components and equipment on their own by turning their back on Japanese companies are contradictory to the concept of comparative advantage as a basic principle of international trade,” he said, adding, “If the political and diplomatic conflicts between South Korea and Japan further escalate, their trade disputes and Japan’s export curbs against South Korea can be exacerbated, and then South Korea may fail to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership led by Japan.”
Regarding the South Korean government’s WTO litigation against the export curbs, he remarked that the Japanese government did ignore a procedural legitimacy in implementing the restrictions, the WTO litigation is likely to lead to no cancellation of the measures, and yet the litigation is meaningful in that it can prevent additional restrictions by showing the unjustness of the measures.
Asan Institute for Policy Studies vice president Choi Kang, in the meantime, pointed out at the seminar that the United States and China are continuing to collide with each other in a variety of issues and more and more countries are being compelled to side with one.
“Under the circumstances, South Korean companies need to seek opportunities for more cooperation with third parties, and they need to focus on impact minimization based on universal norms and values,” he continued to say, adding, “At the same time, the South Korean government should enhance the strategic value of its alliance with the United States to better use it as a leverage.”