From July to October this year, Japan’s exports to South Korea totaled 1,643.3 billion yen, down 14 percent from a year ago. During the same period, South Korea’s exports to Japan fell 7 percent to US$9.48 billion. The Japanese government restricted the export of high-purity hydrogen fluoride, fluorine polyimide and photoresist to South Korea on July 4. In the following three-month period, Japan’s exports to South Korea decreased more than South Korea’s exports to Japan.
With the export restrictions hindering South Korea’s industrial material imports, the South Korean government is trying to enhance the competitiveness of the local material, component and equipment industries. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy’s budget for next year related to the industries is 1,278 billion won, almost 200 percent of that for this year.
The South Korean and Japanese governments will have a dialogue on Dec. 16 with regard to the export and import of strategic industrial materials. The meeting for the purpose will be the first in three years. Still, it is rather unlikely that the meeting will be fruitful. This is because the Japanese government is unwilling to discuss the export restrictions at the meeting.