SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea will appeal the World Trade Organization’s ruling on its import restrictions on Japanese seafood after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and keep them in place until a final decision is made, Seoul’s trade ministry said Friday.
Japan officially lodged a complaint at the WTO in 2015 to challenge South Korea’s import bans and additional testing requirements on fish caught from eight prefectures near Fukushima after 2013.
A WTO dispute panel said South Korea’s measures were justified shortly after the 2011 nuclear disaster but maintaining them continuously violated the WTO’s sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) agreement.
WTO’s dispute settlement panel in Geneva ruled in favor of Japan in October and circulated the report to all members Thursday.
The government here said it will challenge the decision and maintain the current restrictions.
“The Korean government will appeal (WTO’s ruling) to safeguard public health and safety,” the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a release. “Regardless of the decision, the current import ban will be put in place until the WTO’s dispute settlement procedure ends.”
Under WTO rules, South Korea has a set number of days to appeal to an appellate body, which could delay imports of Fukushima-related seafood during the deliberation period.