Global trade tensions are escalating

South Koreans Boycotting Japanese Products and Services as Trade Row Escalates

Posted Friday, July 19, 2019 by
Arslan Butt • 1 min read

As the trade dispute between South Korea and Japan intensifies following Japan’s decision to curb exports of key materials, South Korean businesses are pulling Japanese products off their shelves in a bid for a mass boycott. Japanese products and services are getting boycotted on a large scale, causing disruptions and further hampering the business climate in South Korea.

Last year, a South Korean court had ordered Japan to compensate Korean laborers who were forced to work for Japanese occupiers during World War II. In a possibly retaliatory move, Japan clamped down on exports of key raw materials used by South Korean tech companies to manufacture memory chips and smartphone displays.

Officially, the South Korean government has not reacted to this move by Japan as it waits to raise the issue at the WTO instead. So far, the South Korean government has only announced measures to reduce its dependence on Japan for import of these raw materials and has assured tech companies of increasing its budget for importing these products from other markets.

South Korea imports 61% of all beer exported by Japan, and leading retailers in the country are already reporting a reduction in sales of Japanese beer. Another key sector that is getting affected is the travel industry, with South Koreans cancelling their planned trips to Japan and posting screenshots of this on social media.

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