In principle, the rules of trade are simple. The economic concept involves the buying and selling of goods or services.
Whenever a trade deal is done, the buyer s expected to compensate the seller. So far, so good. In a more global context, things can get a lot trickier when those buying or selling goods feel unfairly treated by the other party. This can happen when certain protectionist measures are in place, often involving tariffs on imports of selected goods. Such duties sometimes trigger countermeasures, potentially leading to what economists would call a trade war.
From beer to cameras and cars - many South Koreans angered by a trade spat with Tokyo boycott Japanese products. On instagram many show signs that say: "I won't go to Japan, I will not buy Japanese products". And many store owners are taking Japenese products off their shelves in a surge of patriotism.
Discord over war-era labor compensation has snowballed into a rapidly escalating trade conflict between Japan and South Korea. Seoul said today it was moving to reduce its dependency on Japanese exports - and Japan may yet remove South Korea from its list of preferred trading partners. The dispute could hurt global supply chains. Allies, like the US, are concerned.