(Bloomberg) -- Japan ended restrictions on exports to South Korea of three key compounds used in the manufacture of semiconductors and displays, in the latest step toward improving long fractious ties between the two US allies. 

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced Thursday the move to officially ease licensing requirements on fluorinated polyimide, hydrogen fluoride and photoresists, adding the move would take effect the same day. South Korea’s trade ministry simultaneously announced it had withdrawn its complaint to the World Trade Organization over the issue. 

The restrictions, which threatened to hurt some of South Korea’s biggest companies and had the potential to disrupt global supply chains, were introduced in 2019 at the height of a dispute over whether Japan had sufficiently compensated the victims of its 1910-1945 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

The measures did little to affect shipments of the specialist materials used in gadgets including Apple Inc. iPhones. But they were perceived as a threat to hurt Seoul economically, and helped drive the two US allies further apart.

Resolving the feud has become more urgent for the US and its two powerful partners in Asia as they attempt to present a more united front against China and North Korea in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who has sought to rebuild ties since taking office last year, on Monday announced he was returning Japan to a list of trusted trading partners. Japan has said it is looking to do the same for its neighbor. 

For his part, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday he would invite Yoon to take part in outreach discussions at the summit of the Group of Seven democracies, set to take place in Hiroshima in May. Yoon went to Tokyo earlier this month for the first summit on Japanese soil in more than a decade between the leaders of the two countries. 

--With assistance from Sam Kim.

(Updates with South Korea withdrawing WTO complaint in second paragraph.)

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