SKorea steps up efforts for U.S. help in export row with Japan

Vastavam web:  South Korea’s foreign minister told U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Japan’s export curbs against Seoul are “undesirable”, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, as a trade row between the East Asian neighbours grows. South Korea’s ruling party also announced on Thursday that up to about 300 billion won ($254.8 million) would be included in a supplementary budget bill to cope with Japan’s export curbs.

S&P Global Rating’s Asia-Pacific chief economist Shaun Roache said the dispute was as unpredictable as the U.S.-China trade war and was likely to affect South Korea’s economic growth. The restrictions will affect companies such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and SK Hynix Inc, which supply chips to companies such as Apple Inc.

South Korea and Japan clashed at the World Trade Organization (WTO) earlier this week and Seoul is stepping up diplomatic overtures to their mutual ally, the United States, to step in. However, experts said the United States is unlikely to step in as a mediator in the dispute.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told Pompeo in a phone call late on Wednesday that Japan’s trade restrictions may not only cause damage to South Korean companies but could also disrupt the global supply chain and hurt U.S. companies.

Kang “expressed concern that this is undesirable in terms of friendly relations between South Korea and Japan and trilateral cooperation among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan”, the ministry said. Seoul hoped Tokyo would withdraw the curbs and that the situation would not deteriorate further, it said.