Before countries involved in a trade dispute go through the settlement process,… WTO encourages the parties to consult with each other. As such, Korea will officially ask Japan for a bilateral consultation.
Japan is allowed to reject the request, but this usually does not happen because the complaining party can request the establishment of a panel right away.
The members of the panel are decided within a month, and most of the times it is comprised of three trade experts.
The panel examines the dispute, and its deliberation can last six months on average.
The examination period varies depending on the dispute.
After the examination is over, the parties need to submit the panel report to the Dispute Settlement Body, or DSB.
If the DSB approves and adopts the report,… the DSB will extend a set of suggestions to the party receiving the complaint, followed by a report of how it plans to implement the DSB suggestion.
This whole process usually takes about 15 months but it becomes longer if any party appeals,… dragging the dispute for more than three years or longer as the Appellate Body reviews the case.
There were six previous WTO disputes between Korea and Japan until now,with most of them ruled in favor of Seoul.
Out of those six, four of them were concluded and two are still in progress.
Seoul filed a complaint with the WTO in 2004, calling on Japan to remove its quota on imports of Korean seaweed only to withdrew two years later as Japan decided to raise the quota.
In 2006, Japan imposed tariffs of 27 percent on DRAM made by SK Hynix, yet WTO ruled in favor of Korea and Japan had to lift the tariffs.
In 2015, Japan again filed a complaint, claiming Korea's ban on imports from its Fukushima region is against international trade agreements.
However, WTO again took Korea's side this year May.
Among the concluded cases, the most recent one was in 2016.
Korea imposed anti-dumping duties on air pressure control valves, and Japan filed a complaint saying it is violation of WTO regulations.
According to a report disclosed by the WTO Appellate Body on Monday this week, Korea have won the major issues.
The seventh WTO dispute might take a long time to settle as Japan is still refusing to back down in its export restrictions on South Korea, supporting its decision on unfounded claims related to its national security.
Kim Bo-kyoung, Arirang News.