SEOUL, May 7 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s imports of Japanese beer more than doubled on-year in the January-March period, data showed Sunday, marking the highest amount since Tokyo’s export curbs against the Asian neighbor in 2019.
Japanese beer imports came to US$6.62 million in the first quarter, soaring from $2.66 million tallied a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Korea Customs Service.
The figure was the highest since the $19 million posted in the second quarter of 2019, just before Tokyo announced its export restrictions of key industrial materials to Asia’s No. 4 economy.
In July 2019, Japan tightened its regulations on the export of three critical materials used in semiconductors and flexible display production.
This move was widely viewed as a response to the 2018 rulings by the South Korean Supreme Court, which ordered Japanese companies to provide compensation to victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor.
The trade row sparked a nationwide boycott of Japanese products, with beer imports diving to just $390,000 in the fourth quarter of 2019.
South Korea’s exports of beer products to Japan reached $3.27 million in the January-March period, up 50.4 percent on-year, leading to a trade deficit of $3.34 million in the sector.
The bilateral relationship, meanwhile, recently started to thaw, with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida set to arrive in South Korea on Sunday for a summit with President Yoon Suk Yeol.
Seoul put Japan back on its “whitelist” of trusted trading partners in late April. Tokyo also announced that it has launched procedures to reinstate South Korea on its own list.