SEOUL, Aug. 6 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean imports of Japanese beer and cars tumbled in July due to a boycott of Japanese products here amid a bilateral trade spat with the neighbor, data showed Tuesday.
Imports of Japanese beer nose-dived 45 percent on-month to US$4.34 million last month, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service (KCS). From a year earlier, the amount was down nearly 35 percent.
South Korea brought in $65.74 million worth of Japanese cars in July, down 17.2 percent from the prior month and 34.1 percent from a year ago.
“The boycott appears to have resulted in decreased imports of related Japanese goods,” a KCS official said. “The figures are preliminary, and exact data will come out after mid-August.”
Beer and cars are the main targets of the spreading boycott of Japanese goods among local consumers, which was sparked by the trade row.
The dispute started when Tokyo imposed curbs on exports of high-tech materials to Seoul on July 4, in apparent retaliation against a Seoul court ruling ordering a Japanese firm to provide compensation for wartime forced labor.
Last week, Japan’s Cabinet expanded its export curbs by approving a proposal to drop South Korea as a preferred trading partner, raising the stakes in the trade spat.
The data also showed South Korean imports of Japanese chipmaking equipment plunging 42.6 percent from a year ago to $275 million, probably affected by Japan’s export restriction.
Imports of petroleum products sank 41.4 percent on-year to $54.98 million, with those of machinery shrinking 22.3 percent to $442 million.