China urges fair treatment as Japan intends to tighten export controls


BEIJING: China called for fairness and non-discrimination in export controls after Japan reportedly plans to intensify restrictions on exports to China, and urged both parties to ensure the stability and fluidity of industry and supply chains.

The remarks were made by He Yadong, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), after being asked about Japan’s tightening export control measures for preventing the military use of export goods.

Nikkei Asia reported on Sunday that the Japanese government hoped to introduce restrictions like those implemented by the US and Europe to “prevent goods and parts from being used for military purposes.”

China’s longstanding principle is that export controls should adhere to fairness, reasonableness and impartiality, said the spokesman.

No countries or regions should exploit export control measures, nor should they infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of other countries and regions in the peaceful utilization of export-controlled items, He said, advocating for the respect of global trade norms.

China and Japan are key economic and trade partners, and both parties should utilize the export control dialogue mechanism, enhance policy communication and understanding to maintain the stability of supply chains, and foster healthy economic and trade relations, He noted.

In recent years, the US, Japan and the EU have continuously accused China of utilizing military-civil dual-purpose technology for military purposes, with Japan taking the lead in tightening these export controls to China, Zhou Yongsheng, a deputy director of the Japanese Studies Center at the China Foreign Affairs University, told Global Times on Thursday.

Preventing military use is Japan’s primary goal, but it’s merely an excuse to suppress the comprehensive industrial upgrade of Chinese technology. Western countries wish to completely separate military from civilian technology, a feat not achievable by China, or by the West, Zhou said.

Japan’s economic and trade policies reflect its approach to politicize economic and trade issues and treat them as security issues, Sun Yanhong, a senior research fellow at the Institute of European Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Japan’s move, in coordination with the US and its allies targeting China, represents a so-called de-risking operation. China has not used these technologies for military purposes or to invade other countries. The introduction of export control lists similar to those of the US and Europe is a tactic and goal, Sun noted.

Despite the strained geopolitical landscape, economic data underscores the close economic and trade relations between China and Japan. In December 2023, Japan’s exports to China rose 9.6 percent to 1.77 trillion yen ($12 billion), according to Japan’s finance ministry, highlighting the significance of maintaining stable and constructive economic relations amid rising tensions.__Pakistan Today