South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee returned home from the United States on Saturday after asking for Washington's support and mediation in Seoul's fight against export controls by Japan.
During her five-day visit, Yoo met various political and business officials in Washington, including U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, to highlight that Tokyo's restrictions are not acceptable.
Starting this month, without prior notice, Japan implemented strict regulations for exports of three key materials to South Korea, which is expected to slam the production of semiconductors and displays, the two major export products for Asia's fourth-largest economy.
"Ross acknowledged that Japan's export curbs can have a negative impact on the U.S. industries," Yoo told reporters after arriving at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul. "We told the U.S. officials that Japan's trade curbs could disrupt global supply chains."
According to Yoo, Ross said the U.S. will consider taking a role if there's a part that needs its help regarding Japan's trade measures.
Yoo said the U.S. information technology industry was also concerned about Japan's export restriction against South Korea. Six U.S. business groups, including the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), are reportedly set to deliver letters to the U.S. government to look into this issue, according to industry sources.
Yoo plans to highlight Japan's economic retaliation and seek other nations' support at a ministerial meeting at the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that starts next Friday in China.