South Korea halts trade complaint process against Japan at WTO

South Korea's government has disclosed plans to halt the process of its complaint with the World Trade Organization against Japan while discussions proceed on Japan's export restrictions.

South Korea's industry ministry announced on Monday that Seoul and Tokyo agreed to conduct bilateral consultations on export control issues.

The ministry stressed that the decision does not mean that South Korea will withdraw the complaint. It said if the issue does not progress well, the process may resume again.

The ministry pledged to pursue efforts to resolve the dispute. It said that both countries wish to bring the situation back to what it was before Japan tightened export controls in 2019 on high-tech materials to South Korea.

Seoul filed a complaint with the WTO in 2020 in response to Japan's move, claiming it violated international trade rules.

The announcement of Seoul's decision to suspend its complaint came as the South Korean government earlier on Monday announced a plan to settle its long-standing issue with Japan over wartime labor compensation.

The administration led by President Yoon Suk-yeol aims to improve ties with Japan.