Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization has delivered a written request to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to withdraw moves to exclude Korea from its whitelist.
The whitelist is a list of goods designated by the Japanese government to simplify the procedures when exporting strategic goods, including commodities, technologies and software that can be used for weapon development, in trade with foreign countries.
The Japanese ministry announced on July 1 that it would remove Korea from the whitelist, and moved three days later to strengthen export restrictions on Korea concerning three essential materials -- fluorinated polyimides, photoresist and hydrogen fluoride -- for producing semiconductors and displays.
In response, the biotechnology industry group delivered a letter on July 25 to the Japanese ministry, hoping the latter to “withdraw the trade restriction so that the cooperative relationship between the two countries can continue for the continuous development of the industry.”
The organization is concerned that trade restrictions may adversely affect drugs like vaccines that are being developed for peaceful purposes, although materials subject to controls, such as pathogens, toxins, and equipment, including fermentation tanks and filters, could be used as strategic materials.
If Korean businesses are excluded from Japan’s whitelist and cannot use the collective license, they should obtain separate permits for all the goods that have been imported so far. That will pose a significant burden on Korean importer, as the license screening period takes an average of more than 90 days and the procedure requires additional documents such as the buyers’ pledge, contract papers and documents containing the information on buyer’s business contents.
Japan is Korea’s fifth-largest importer and the largest exporter concerning the trading volume of medical supplies. Bio companies of both nations have been cooperating in various sectors, including joint research, technology transfer and marketing for industrializing biopharmaceutical goods. Most recently, the two countries have expanded cooperation to improve the health of their people and develop their bio industries by, for instance, setting up more joint ventures.
“Bioindustry is difficult to succeed alone. Chances of success increase only when we become partners by supplementing each other. Korea and Japan are important partners and companions for the development of our bio industries,” the organization said in the written request.
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