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Korean biotech firms seek retraction of Japan’s trade curbs

The Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization issued a statement Thursday calling for a withdrawal of Japan’s move to exclude South Korea from the trade whitelist, citing the peaceful nature of bio pathogens trade and the open collaboration required to foster the technology worldwide.

The organization represents more than 300 companies, including major pharma and biotech firms.

(Samsung Biologics)
(Samsung Biologics)

Japan requires approvals for trade of human, animal, plant pathogens and toxins, as well as fermenters and cross-flow filtration equipment and components. The trade restriction is based on grounds that these items could potentially be misused for production of weapons of mass destruction.

Korean bio firms have so far had the exemption privilege, saving time and costs from having to go through the individual approval process.

“Japan is the fifth-largest importer of pharmaceuticals and the biggest exporter,” said Korea Bio President Seo Jeong-sun.

“Bio firms in the two countries are actively conducting joint research and license deals for commercialization of new drugs for the betterment of patient health and industry in both nations,” Seo said.

If Korea is excluded from the whitelist, the products that are being traded easily will require approvals and eventually disrupt bilateral cooperation, reasoned Seo.

“The bio industry in each country cannot progress alone. Korea wishes to continue the bilateral cooperation with Japan and asks for the retraction of the revision bill of the Export Trade Control Order,” said Seo.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (