Go to contents

Korea Should Sell Imported Rice at Retail

Posted June. 09, 2004 20:53,   


It has been revealed that the U.S., China, Australia and Thailand, the major rice exportation countries, have demanded in the process of the rice re-negotiation talks that their produce be sold at retail in Korea.

Lee Jae-gil, a negotiation ambassador of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) who was the chief delegate of Korea at this negotiation, stated, “These four nations have delivered their idea that there lies a problem in consuming rice of ‘Minimum Market Approach’ (MMA) materials, which Korea has to compulsorily import only as a use of process item, such as in rice cookies.”

Ambassador Lee analyzed, “Such a problem they have raised is not actually different from a demand that Korean consumers be allowed to directly purchase imported rice.”

He also said, “After the first negotiation round with nine countries, I got the impression that it will not be an easy conversation from here on since each country has a different view and there is a time limit for negotiation.”

In relation to this, Ambassador Lee added, “Whereas U.S. and Australia understood the circumstances behind Korea’s standard position of postponing the customs duty system (Liberalizing importation of agricultural products but controlling them by imposing tariffs), China and Thailand seemed really interested in expanding their market possession rates through the customs duty system.”

Based on the results of two-way negotiations that took place from May 6 to June 3, the government will go through consultations such as a conference of exterior economy ministers to establish negotiation strategies and hold the second round of negotiations with the U.S., China and others.

The rice re-negotiation talks are being held because after concluding the Uruguay Round (UR) entente with member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1993, Korea was granted postponement of the customs duty system for 10 years from 1995 in exchange for compulsory importation of rice that is under the pretext of the MMA.

Jin-Hup Song jinhup@donga.com