South Korea has abandoned its status as a developing country in the World Trade Organization after censure from the U.S., in a move that may burden China to follow suit.
U.S. President Donald Trump has this year criticized the WTO for allowing too many countries, including China, to entitle the preferential trade status, as part of a broader attack on the administration.
The permission by Seoul — leaders, had just months previously Stated they had no plans to change the country’s position — was not expected to have an important immediate impact on the Korean economy but would likely have consequences for other governments which have been repelling U.S. lobbying on the subject, experts Stated.
“This will certainly put the burden on China to change its status in the WTO,” Stated Chung In-Kyo, a teacher of worldwide trade at Inha University. “They could have repelled the U.S. pressure if South Korea did not change its position, but they will now feel more burdens to follow suit.”
The move follows a memo printed by Mr. Trump to Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade demonstrative, in July that listed South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, amid others, as holding “unreliable” developing-country designations.
“China and too many other countries have sustained to style themselves as developing countries, permitting them to enjoy the reimbursements that come with that status and seek weaker obligations than those made by other WTO members,” Mr. Trump Stated at the time.
Hong Nam-ki, South Korea’s finance minister, Stated on Friday that it was “difficult” to continue to be accepted as a developing country, given the country’s current financial standing.