September 20, 2019 / 2:51 AM / a month ago

Japan agrees to hold bilateral talks with South Korea in WTO dispute

FILE PHOTO: A police officer stands guard near Japan and South Korea national flags at hotel, where South Korean embassy in Japan is holding the reception to mark the 50th anniversary of normalisation of ties between Seoul and Tokyo, in Tokyo June 22, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Trade Minister Isshu Sugawara said on Friday that Tokyo would hold talks with Seoul over Japan’s move to tighten export controls to South Korea, agreeing to Seoul’s request for consultations as part of a dispute settlement through the World Trade Organisation.

“We will make arrangements through diplomatic channels,” Sugawara told a news conference.

Separately, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told a briefing there was no immediate plan for him to meet with his South Korean counterpart.

Earlier this week, South Korea initiated a WTO dispute against Japan’s export curbs involving three materials used in smartphone chips and displays. South Korea will seek the end of the export curbs through the bilateral consultations, and if the talks do not resolve the issues, it will request a WTO panel ruling on the cases, the South Korean trade minister has said.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Ritsuko Shimizu; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim

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