South Korea downgrades Japan trade status as dispute deepens

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea has gone through with plans to drop Japan from a list of countries receiving fast-track approvals in trade in a tit-for-tat reaction to a similar move by Tokyo to downgrade Seoul's trade status amid a tense diplomatic dispute.

South Korea' trade ministry says Japan's removal from a 29-member "white list" of nations enjoying minimum trade restrictions went into effect Wednesday.

The move comes a week after South Korea initiated a complaint to the World Trade Organization over a separate Japanese move to tighten export controls on key chemicals South Korean companies use to manufacture semiconductors and displays.