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South Korea, Japan hold in-depth talks to strengthen bilateral trade

June 30, 2023 - 14:40 By Jo He-rim
South Korean Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun speaks at a governmental meeting in Seoul on June 14. (Yonhap)

South Korean Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun discussed measures to strengthen bilateral trade with his Japanese counterpart Hirohide Hirai during his visit to Seoul on Friday.

The bilateral talk comes as Japan has announced to reinstate South Korea as a "Group A" country earlier this week, returning to Seoul the preferential export treatment it had enjoyed until 2019. The latest decision marked the end to a trade dispute that had dragged on for four years stemming from the issue ofKoreans who performed forced labor during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of the peninsula.

Ahn met with Japanese Vice Minister of International Affairs Hirohide and discussed ways to implement followup measures to the summit held between the leaders of their respective countries.

In their latest summit held in Seoul in May, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reaffirmed their commitment to improve bilateral trade and work together to establish partnerships in various industrial fields, including energy and steel.

"I would like to express my welcome to Hirai, who is vising Seoul on a meaningful day when the two countries have fully restored trust in regard to exports," Ahn said.

"Let's work closely together to speed up implementing the followup measures of the Korea-Japan summit."

The two sides also discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in the multilateral initiatives they have both joined, such as the US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, as well as in digital economy.

The Japanese government has announced to partially revise the Export Trade Control Order based on the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act to add South Korea to the whitelist, according to the Japanese ministry.

The amendment was promulgated Friday, and will come into force from July 21. The latest measure would reduce the time and procedures it takes for Japanese companies to export strategic materials to Korea, from the current two to three months to about a week.