Mobiles, Consumer Goods Are Not Under US’ Export Curbs on Russia Says S.korea

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Mobile phones, cars, and other consumer goods are not subject to the United States’ sweeping restrictions on exports to Russia, South Korea’s trade ministry said on Thursday.

Last week, the US government announced the Foreign Direct Product Rule (FDPR) for “all of Russia” as part of its export controls to block Russia’s access to global high-tech products and other major items, such as semiconductors, over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The measure calls on companies to receive a license from the US for tech-related items using US technology before they can be shipped to Russia, which is feared to affect major South Korean exporters as they use US technology and software.

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During a working-level meeting between Seoul and Washington, the U.S. Commerce Department confirmed that smartphones, cars, washers, and other consumer goods are exceptions to the FDP rules as long as they are not shipped to military-related users, South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said, reports Yonhap news agency.

According to the ministry, south Korean firms could also get approval for planned shipment to their factories in Russia through the U.S.’ case-by-case examinations.

South Korea is seeking to receive an exemption from the FDP rules, as it was not included in the U.S.’ exception list of 32 nations.

Meanwhile, the government said it will devise measures to help resolve difficulties facing exporters and South Koreans residing in Russia after Seoul decided to suspend financial transactions with Russia’s seven major banks and affiliates in line with international sanctions against Moscow.

The measure to exclude Russia from the SWIFT global payment network will come into force on March 12.

Local banks’ exposure to Russia, including potentially risky loans and investments, accounted for 0.4 percent of their total external exposure, so the sanctions will have a limited impact on the country’s financial sector.

But the government has received more than 400 complaints and questions from companies regarding the recent export controls and payments, the ministry said, vowing to extend active support and to strengthen the monitoring over growing uncertainties and possible ripple effects.

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