On August 2, local time, the Japanese government finally decided to amend the decree at the cabinet meeting of the day and passed the new version of the Export Trade Management Order, which completely removed South Korea from the “white list” of export control.
This is the first time that Japan has set up this “white list” and cleared the relevant countries for the first time.
For people from all walks of life in Seoul, as well as John Bolton, a US national security adviser who has recently traveled between Japan and South Korea, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who tried to mediate unsuccessfully, the news is undoubtedly impressive. regret. For a time, the black smoke of the Japanese national flag and the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s portraits burned around Seoul, which did not help.
As the United States is indifferent to the peninsula, and South Korea threatens to withdraw from the Japan-Korea Military Intelligence Protection Agreement signed in 2016, Tokyo seems to be trying to establish a new balance in the eyes of the two sides in Northeast Asia. Show your strength in a more confident posture.
Big stick from Tokyo
As far as the current situation is concerned, the industrial situation that has gradually deteriorated between Japan and South Korea in early July has been expanded by this storm. After the implementation of the new policy, 857 kinds of “non-sensitive strategic materials” such as fluorine-containing polyimide, photoresist and high-purity hydrogen fluoride, which are produced in Japan, are shipped to Korea, and they have been transported point-to-point from Japan to Korea. The above-mentioned various products will encounter an “export license and review period” of about three months.
Although the South Korean side is quite dissatisfied, criticizing Tokyo that “harsh procedures will seriously affect bilateral trade between South Korea and Japan” will also exclude Japan from its “white list” on August 2, but this does not help the status quo. At present, the Korean semiconductor industry has gradually faced the dilemma of reducing production and shutdown after a month of shock. In addition, the Korean semiconductor industry itself has been in a downturn in 2019, and the political and financial circles in Seoul are facing a dilemma.
According to the data, South Korea’s semiconductor exports in March 2019 decreased by 16.6% compared with the previous year. Samsung’s profit in the first quarter of 2019 decreased by 42.6% from the previous quarter and decreased by 60.4% from the previous year. Since Japan announced export control measures in July 2019, the Korean stock market has also fallen.
Goldman Sachs, the international authoritative investment institution, pointed out on July 15 that “for every 10% reduction in Korean semiconductor production, Korea’s current revenue and expenditure will be reduced by 10 billion dollars in 2019.” Considering that the Bank of Korea has discovered the risk of a recession in February 2019, the decline of the relevant core industries will inevitably lead to tension.
But when South Korea hopes that the internal mechanism of the “US, Japan and South Korea” will solve the worsening storm, it is not difficult to find that the current Washington seems to be difficult to rely on.
For example, when North Korea recently launched a series of flying bodies, rockets, and ballistic missiles into the Japanese waters, Bolton, known as the hawks, claimed that “North Korea’s recent missile test did not violate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to US President Donald Trump. Commitment, when the United States is not interested in the peninsula, Japan has the space to test the bottom line of the United States. When Tokyo discovered that companies such as Samsung, which is hitting US holdings, would still not face direct warnings from Washington, he might do more.
Japan proves its chance
In fact, South Korea has more than once discovered the risk of becoming a foundry because of its lack of competitiveness in manufacturing after 2019. Japan, an “economic animal,” has long been seen.
Despite the US-led Western economic system, the advancement and retreat of Korean industry will not immediately affect the country’s economic situation. South Korea’s “Caidian”, such as Samsung, has even a chance to enter the US market.
However, in general, the tendency of Korean companies to gradually present their downstream industrial chains and even the characteristics of “founders” in the trend of trade wars has already emerged. When China, Japan and other countries won their living space in Trump’s global trade war because of their intellectual property rights and industrial R&D capabilities, Tokyo’s “a hundred years have not changed greatly” due to China’s More ideas.
As the China-US trade war began to accelerate the integration of the global industrial chain from March 2018, major industrial countries such as Japan and the United States are seeking to exclude countries in the downstream industrial chain. China, Japan and South Korea have become the epitome of technology and material flows in the fields of integrated circuits and displays. When upstream countries try to shorten the industrial chain and reduce costs, China and Japan are relatively low in dependence on foreign trade. The state also allowed it to withstand the pressure during the trade war and avoid further losses.
According to the data, in 2018, Japan’s trade dependence is about 30%, which is even lower than the relevant value of 35% in China. In contrast, South Korea’s trade dependence is between 67% and 68%, and its currency and fiscal operating space is not as large as China and the United States.
When the storm that affected the global supply chain did not immediately affect Japan, but it has already affected South Korea, Tokyo has already begun to emphasize its “China-Japan cooperation in the new era” after April 2019, plus Japan. For a long time, it is China’s largest source of investment, and China is Japan’s most important export market. The confrontation between Japan and South Korea between July and August 2019 will undoubtedly make Beijing look at it. Japan is in China. The weights in the Belt and Road Initiative and other mechanisms are expected to continue to increase.