South Korea tightens export controls on Japan

South Korea’s Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Sung Yun-mo. (AFP)
Updated 13 August 2019

South Korea tightens export controls on Japan

  • Dispute fuels concerns over potential implications for security cooperation

SEOUL: South Korea has put Japan into its own new export category as President Moon Jae-in called Tokyo’s latest measures “very serious,” intensifying a trade war between the two neighbors and US allies.
The move came after Seoul announced earlier this month it would remove Tokyo from its list of trusted trading partners, reciprocating an identical decision by Japan.
That followed Tokyo’s imposition of tough restrictions on exports crucial to tech titans such as Samsung following a series of South Korean court rulings ordering Japanese firms to pay for forced labor during the Second World War.
The dispute has raised concerns over the potential implications for their security cooperation in the face of North Korean missile tests, and the possible impact on global supply chains.
At a meeting with his top aides, Moon reflected on Japan’s colonization of the Korean peninsula in the first half of the 20th century to highlight the gravity of the situation.
“As a victim of great suffering from Japanese imperialism in the past, we, for our part, cannot help but take Japan’s ongoing economic retaliation very seriously,” Moon said.
“It is even more so because this economic retaliation is in itself unjustifiable and also has its roots in historical issues,” he added.
Japan insists its latest measures were enforced on national security grounds.

As a victim of great suffering from Japanese imperialism in the past, we, for our part, cannot help but take Japan’s ongoing economic retaliation very seriously.

Moon Jae-in, President of South Korea

South Korea’s list of trade partners is currently divided into two groups, those who are members of the world’s top four export control agreements and those who are not.
But Seoul’s Trade Ministry said it added a new category for countries that had signed the four pacts “but operate an export control system that violates international norms.”
Japan is the only country in the new category.
“Since it’s hard to work closely with a country that frequently violates the basic rules ... we need an export control system that addresses this,” said South Korean Trade Minister Sung Yun-mo told reporters.
Sung did not offer examples of such violations by Japan.
The revision will be implemented in September, he said, adding that Seoul was open to negotiations with Tokyo.
Japan could look elsewhere for those goods currently sourced from South Korea, a Japanese government official said.
“We can import them from Taiwan. There are few items that can’t be replaced,” the unnamed official told the Yomiuri Shimbun.
Under the new regulations, South Korean firms must submit five documents — from the current three — to win approvals for exporting sensitive items to Japan, with the process taking up to 15 days.


Saudi Aramco shares soar at maximum 10% on market debut

Updated 11 December 2019

Saudi Aramco shares soar at maximum 10% on market debut

  • Company is now world’s largest publicly traded company, bigger than Apple

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco shares opened at 35.2 riyals ($9.39) on Wednesday at the Kingdom’s stock exchange, 10 percent above their IPO price of 32 riyals, in their first day of trading following a record $26.5 billion initial public offering.
Aramco has earlier priced its IPO at 32 riyals ($8.53) per share, the high end of the target range, surpassing the $25 billion raised by Chinese retail giant Alibaba in its 2014 Wall Street debut.
Aramco’s earlier indicative debut price was seen at 35.2 riyals, 10 per cent above IPO price, raising the company’s valuation to $1.88 trillion, Refintiv data showed.
At that price, Aramco is world’s most valuable listed company. That’s more than the top five oil companies – Exxon Mobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP – combined.
“Today Aramco will become the largest listed company in the world and (Tadawul) among the top ten global financial markets,” Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chairwoman of the Saudi Arabian stock exchange, said during a ceremony marking the oil giant’s first day of trading.
“Aramco today is the largest integrated oil and gas company in the world. Before Saudi Arabia was the only shareholder of the company, now there are 5 million shareholders including citizens, residents and investors,” said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the managing director and chief executive of the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
“Aramco’s IPO will enhance the company’s governance and strengthen its standards.”
Amin Nasser, the president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, meanwhile thanked the new shareholders for their confidence and trust of the oil company.
The sale of 1.5 percent of the firm, or three billion shares, is the bedrock of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious strategy to overhaul the oil-reliant economy.
Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange earlier said it will hold an opening auction for Aramco shares for an hour from 9:30 a.m. followed by continuous trading, with price changes limited to plus or minus 10 percent.

The company said Friday it could exercise a “greenshoe” option, selling additional shares to bring the total raised up to $29.4 billion.
The market launch puts the oil behemoth’s value at $1.7 trillion, far ahead of other firms in the trillion-dollar club, including Apple and Microsoft.
Two-thirds of the shares were offered to institutional investors. Saudi government bodies accounted for 13.2 percent of the institutional tranche, investing around $2.3 billion, according to lead IPO manager Samba Capital.
The IPO is a crucial part of Prince Mohammed’s plan to wean the economy away from oil by pumping funds into megaprojects and non-energy industries such as tourism and entertainment.
Watch the video marking Aramco’s opening trading: