Japan has decided to restore South Korea to its list of preferred trading partners, the latest step toward bolstering relations that will help them strengthen cooperation with the U.S.

The restored status will take effect on July 21, trade minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Tuesday. The return to Japan’s so-called white list of trading partners will smooth out export procedures to South Korea and comes about three months after Seoul made a similar move.

"We also agreed upon a follow-up framework to continue dialogue over policy and take appropriate action including reviewing measures and operations as needed,” Nishimura said.