Korea and Japan Economic Relations: An Analysis through the World Trade Organization

It is well known that the history between South Korea and Japan influences their international relations; thus, also encompassing their economic relations. In this sense, it is impossible to analyze the latter without understanding the development of the former, which is known for episodes of hostility, like on Japanese colonization, but also had moments of cultural and trade interexchange. Indeed, since 1965, with the establishment of diplomatic relations between both countries, their trade relations have improved, especially after both nations have signed the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Thereafter, with the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, another chapter of their diplomatic and economic relations have been inaugurated. Hence, bearing in mind this history between both nations, this research intends to examine their relations through the analysis of the WTO panels they have engaged in between each other, which are, in chronological order, “DS323: Japan – Import Quotas on Dried Laver and Seasoned Laver”, “DS336: Japan - Countervailing Duties on Dynamic Random Access Memories from Korea”, “DS495: Korea - Import Band, and Testing and Certification Requirements for Radionuclides”, “DS553: Korea - Sunset Review of Anti-Dumping Duties on Stainless Steel Bars” and “DS571: Korea - Measures Affecting Trade in Commercial Vessels”. The objective of this case analysis is to point out what are the areas that are more conflictual between Japan and South Korea in regard to their economic relations so that it is possible to assert on their future (economic) relations and other possible outcomes. And in order to do so, bibliographic and documental research will be made, particularly those involving the WTO and the nations under consideration. Regarding the methods used, it is important to highlight that this is applied research in the field of international economic relations and international law, which follows a hypothetic-deductive model.