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S. Korea's trade representatives head for Geneva to attend WTO General Council over trade spat with Japan Updated: 2019-07-22 16:43:07 KST

South Korea's trade representatives left Incheon on Monday for Geneva, Switzerland to attend the General Council meeting, which starts on Tuesday.
The team is led by the deputy minister for international trade and legal affairs, Kim Seung-ho, who'll deliver the South Korean government's full position on Japan's export restrictions.
Kim is an expert on international trade.

He led the team that successfully defended South Korea at the WTO when Seoul was sued by Japan for banning fish from the Fukushima area after the 2011 nuclear disaster.
His counterpart from Japan will be Shingo Yamagami, director-general of the economic affairs bureau at Japan's foreign ministry.
South Korea will explain the unfairness of the export restrictions in light of the principles of free trade, and try to convince the international community to pressure Tokyo to withdraw them.

The General Council is the WTO's highest decision-making body after the Ministerial Conference, and this year it'll be attended by 164 member countries.
Both Korea and Japan will get a chance to speak in turn, and other parties can join the discussion, but Tuesday's meeting is not binding and it cannot settle the dispute.

"The General Council does not make binding decisions on these issues. Trade between the two countries will be discussed, but this will not do much to narrow their differences. Nevertheless, it will bring attention to the issue on the global stage and make other countries, including the U.S., consider stepping in to mediate."

Currently, Japan is accepting feedback until Wednesday before it decides to exclude Korea from its whitelist of trading partners.

The South Korean government will submit an opinion to Japan before then to explain the unfairness of both the export restrictions and the whitelist measure and to call on Tokyo to take back the restrictions.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.
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