Japan ready to take Korean yard subsidies issue to the WTO

Japan is readying once again to go to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over what it sees as South Korea’s unfair subsidies for its shipyards.

Tokyo has sought bilateral talks with its counterparts in Seoul over the billions of Korean won in state aid handed out to South Korea’s struggling shipbuilders. If the talks do not succeed Japan has let it be known it will head to the WTO.

The two countries have squared off over state subsidies repeatedly in the past couple of decades. South Korea surpassed Japan as the world’s largest shipbuilding nation at the turn of the century. China has since also overtaken Japan too.

“We have conveyed concerns to South Korea that (the subsidies) could distort the market, but there have been no moves to correct the practice,” transport minister Keiichi Ishii told a news conference Tuesday.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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