Monday, September 23, 2019
Agriculture Minister Candidate Says Imports of Rice for Boiling Are Inevitable
Korea Required to Introduce Tariffication for Rice Imports
Agriculture Minister Candidate Says Imports of Rice for Boiling Are Inevitable
  • By Michael Herh
  • August 29, 2019, 11:58
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In May 2015, more than 300 South Korean farmers held a protest in Seoul to block the import of rice for boiling.
More than 300 South Korean farmers hold a protest in Seoul in May 2015 to block imports of rice for boiling.

U.S. President Donald Trump recently made an issue of South Korea’s developing country status in the WTO. Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister candidate Kim Hyun-soo said on Aug. 28 that the U.S. president’s remarks can be a chance for South Korea to change the framework of its agricultural industry.

Specifically, the candidate said that a prudent approach to reform is necessary in view of potential impacts on future WTO negotiations and reviews need to be made on issues such as agricultural subsidies and industrial competitiveness enhancement.

At present, South Korea’s developing country status in the WTO is being maintained in the agricultural industry and the country is enjoying benefits with regard to tariff reduction and subsidy policy. As a result, up to 1.49 trillion won can be spent a year in aggregate measurement of support (AMS). According to the candidate, the subsidy structure has to be modified once South Korea loses the status.

When it comes to imports of rice for boiling, the candidate remarked that imports of such a type of rice are inevitable to some extent in view of ongoing trade issues and WTO rules. The United States and China are currently demanding that South Korea increase imports of that type of rice. “Commercial rice imports are likely to become difficult once the rice tariff rate reaches 513 percent,” he said.