South Korea to fight WTO ruling on Fukushima seafood ban

A lab technician at the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Center, which monitors safety in farm and fisheries products from across the prefecture, fills mashed-up fish meat with a plastic cup to measure radiation levels in Koriyama city, in this October 2017 photo. (AP)
Updated 23 February 2018
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South Korea to fight WTO ruling on Fukushima seafood ban

SEOUL: South Korea says it will appeal the World Trade Organization’s decision against Seoul’s import bans on Japanese fishery products imposed in the wake of Fukushima nuclear meltdowns.
South Korea’s government said Friday that the appeal is aimed at protecting public health and safety. It said it will maintain its existing import bans and regulations on Japanese seafood.
The WTO accepted Japan’s complaint saying that South Korea’s trade move was inconsistent with the trade body’s rules, discriminatory and served as a trade barrier.
In 2013, South Korea banned import of all fishery products from eight Japanese provinces near Fukushima after the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011. It also required radioactive certificates on food products from Japan. Japan filed a complaint against the move in 2015.


China says hard to proceed on trade with US putting ‘knife to its neck’

Updated 40 min 58 sec ago
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China says hard to proceed on trade with US putting ‘knife to its neck’

  • When the talks can restart would depend on the ‘will’ of the US, senior Chinese commerce official says
  • Several rounds of Sino-US talks in recent months have appeared to produce no breakthroughs

BEIJING: A senior Chinese official said on Tuesday that it is difficult to proceed with trade talks with the US while Washington is putting “a knife to China’s neck,” a day after both sides heaped fresh tariffs on each other’s goods.
When the talks can restart would depend on the “will” of the US, Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said at a news conference.
US tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods and retaliatory taxes by Beijing on $60 billion worth of US products including liquefied natural gas (LNG) kicked in on Monday as the trade dispute between the world’s two biggest economies escalated, unnerving global financial markets.
China also accused the US of engaging in “trade bullyism,” and said Washington was intimidating other countries to submit to its will, according to a white paper on the dispute published by China’s State Council, or cabinet, on Monday.
“The sharp criticism (from Beijing on Monday) suggests that China might prefer to wait out the current US administration, rather than embarking on potentially futile negotiations,” Mizuho Bank said in a note to clients.
“Given these developments, it is increasingly likely that both sides will not resume negotiations for some time, at least until there is a noticeable shift in the political mood on either side.”
Several rounds of Sino-US talks in recent months have appeared to produce no breakthroughs and fresh negotiations which had been expected in coming weeks have been canceled after Beijing reportedly decided late last week not to send a delegation to Washington.
One cannot say that all previous trade discussions have been useless, but the US has abandoned its mutual understanding with China, Wang said.
China does not know why the US has changed its mind after reaching an agreement with China on trade earlier, Wang said, apparently referring to talks in May when it appeared briefly that a framework was being sorted out.
US exporters including LNG suppliers would “certainly” be hurt, but Beijing’s retaliation would provide opportunities to other LNG-exporting countries, Wang said, adding that Australia is an important source of the fuel for China.
“China is a big and powerful nation, so whether it is a confrontation with China economically or militarily, it would come at a huge price,” the state-backed Global Times wrote in an editorial on Tuesday.
“As such, it is an attractive prospect for other countries including the US to coexist with China peacefully,” said the newspaper, which is published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily.