Businessmen and government officials in the United States have said that a trade feud between Japan and South Korea should be resolved quickly as the move will hurt the global supply chain, according to Seoul's trade minister Monday.
The remark came after Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee visited Washington last week to drum up support for its battle against Tokyo's export curbs and highlight that it would have a negative impact on not only Asian companies but U.S. firms as well.
Starting this month, without prior notice, Japan implemented strict regulations for exports of three key materials vital for semiconductors and displays to South Korea, hitting hard the two major export items of Asia's fourth-largest economy.
Tokyo claims its export restrictions are in response to Seoul's lax export control system on goods that can be diverted for military purposes by third-party countries, implying North Korea.
The South Korean government, however, believes the move is an economic retaliation against a Seoul court's ruling that ordered Japanese companies to compensate South Korean workers forced into labor during World War II.
The South Korean trade minister met various political and business officials, including U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
"I emphasized that Japan's export restriction will give a significant impact on the global economy, including that of the U.S.," Yoo said, claiming Japan's move will leave a "dangerous" precedent for taking advantage of the two countries' economic ties to settle political issues.
Yoo said she requested the U.S. officials to do what is necessary to solve South Korea's trouble with the neighboring country, although the U.S. government has not yet expressed a will to directly intervene in the case.
But U.S. officials were basically on the same page with South Korea, and the U.S. commerce secretary also acknowledged the potential impact on its industries, according to Yoo.
Japan is widely expected to remove South Korea from a "whitelist" of trusted importers this week, which could affect an additional 1,000 industrial items. Once approved by the Japanese Cabinet, South Korea will not be able to enjoy preferential export procedures.
The trade minister said South Korea will continue its talk with Washington to cope with the situation and make efforts to win support from the international community through various diplomatic routes.