Seoul complains to WTO over Beijing’s retaliation
SEOUL: South Korea’s trade minister said yesterday Seoul had complained to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) about China’s retaliation against South Korean companies over the deployment of a United States anti-missile defence system in the south.
“We have notified the WTO that China may be in violation of some trade agreements,” said Trade Minister Joo Hyung-hwan in response to questions about China’s reaction to the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system in South Korea.
Joo said the issue was raised with the WTO’s Council for Trade in Services on Friday after China imposed restrictions on South Korean companies in the tourism and distribution sectors.
A trade ministry official said the complaint was rather a request for the WTO to look into whether China was upholding trade agreements fairly.
China is South Korea’s largest trading partner and the dispute over THAAD has resulted in a sharp decline in Chinese tourists in the South’s shopping districts.
Chinese authorities have also closed nearly two dozen retail stores of Lotte Group.
Efforts to hold direct discussions between the finance ministers of China and South Korea at a Group of 20 meeting in Germany at the weekend fell through after Beijing declined Seoul’s request to meet, citing scheduling reasons. Reuters