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Results of the Negotiations on Opening Korea’s Rice Market to be Announced This Month

Results of the Negotiations on Opening Korea’s Rice Market to be Announced This Month

Posted November. 03, 2004 23:01,   


The government has decided to announce the results of the negotiation on the opening of Korea’s rice market, currently in talks with the U.S. and China, in mid-November. Also, the government’s final proposal will be definite after collecting the public’s opinion through a national debate.

On Wednesday, at a regular briefing, Agriculture and Forestry Vice Minister Lee Myung-soo stated, “We are planning to take the public’s opinion into consideration by having two sets of debate with expert farming corporations on the negotiation results after November 15.”

As a result, a presidential advisory committee on agricultural • special rural area will hold a debate in the third week of this month and the government -controlled debate is scheduled for the fourth week of this month.

At the debate, the progress of the rice talks, which began in May, and the counterpart’s demands for the delay on the conversion to a flat tariff system will be announced.

The government has decided to come up with a final proposal after keeping an eye on the trend of the public opinion and the results from the negotiation. Then, the government will try to harmonize the remaining conflicting issues with the negotiation counterparts.

So far, the negotiation has been on the issue of delaying the conversion to a flat tariff system for an additional 10 years, while doubling the current obligated import quantity. Additionally, the issue of selling a portion of the imported rice, only used to make processed food such as rice noodles and rice cookies, as a general consumer product was included.

If such issues are left out in the debate, there is a great possibility of the domestic rice market will become fully liberalized with a tariff system.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry is planning to propose a countermeasure to stabilize the agricultural income following the additional opening of the rice market sometime next week.

It is reported that a way to make up the differences of the previously set price of the rice and the rice market price in a direct payment manner, as the farm household’s income decreases from the increase of foreign rice import, will be included in the contents of the countermeasure.

Ji-Wan Cha cha@donga.com