Time for Trade Wars?


CHOUNO Keiko
Researcher, International Relations
Fukuoka University, Fukuoka, Japan
E-mail: info@globalculturz.org


Credit: AFP/Jung Yeon-je


The last week, a trade war broke out between Japan and Korea. The US and China are already in a war of trade and despite several rounds of official and non-official talks between the two nations there is no solution to it. As there are nationalistic governments are in power in most of the countries, the citizens’ pressure to protect ecomic interests of people and local corporates. In these trade wars there is less trade and more emotions. Asia Times writes, ‘The crisis blew up when Tokyo announced this month that South Korean importers of key Japanese semiconductor and display materials are now required to submit to new, and potentially onerous, 90-day government approval processes.’  The trade wars are not just economic they carry some cultural, political issues in the back drop. The issue of Comfort Women has become bone of contention as soon as Moon Govenment came into power. The new government repealed the earlier agreement between Japan and South Korea on Comfort Women issue. Earlier Japan imposed several restrictions on export of materials required by South Korean companies to produce computer chips. Despite foreign minister level tele talks, no progress achieved. Now both countries have removed each other from their respective White Lists. As scholars are speculating this trade war is going to escalate. S K Kim, associated with Daiwa, a reputaed borkerage company said "If Japan removes South Korea from the white list, the impact will be widened to other industry areas, which will be negative for both (countries),” reported CNN. Trade wars are used as a tool resolve the diplomatic issues. Japan and South Korea came together to fight the nuclear challege of the North Korea. But, as Asia News says, Tension between the two neighbours soared last October, after South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered Japanese steelmakers to compensate wartime forced labourers from Korea. The issue escalated with South Korea ordering the seizure of the local assets of Japanese firms and refusing to form an arbitration panel to resolve the dispute. Such measures to settle diplomatic issues are neither good for the two countries nor for the global economy. In the mean the US and China are already in trade tussles and due to which Chinese currency had touched it’s lowest mark. China and US are competing to each other to be global leader. Expansion of naval and air bases in South China Sea is a big concern for many countires, particulalry for Japan, America and India. The US and Japan wants to ensure ‘Free Indo-Pacific’ navigation but due to Chinese presence in South China Sea, countries of South East Asia, India, Japan and America feel concerned. Now this tussle has resulted in the US-China trade war and both countries have already made several impositions on each other.In a recent development, Indian Government has revoked Article 370 in Kashmir a Northern territory of India. In retalliation Pakistan is curtailing trade and diplomatic ties with India. Trade war between the two nuclear-armed nations is set to increase.

Above facts remind us that in all trade tussles only ‘economics’ is not involved. Trades are governed by political, cultural and a few other issues.  The US has banned several countries in different capacities like Iran, Russia and North Korea.   

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