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Gov’t decides to purchase 450,000 tons of rice

Posted September. 26, 2022 07:37,   

Updated September. 26, 2022 07:37


Tensions are rising between the ruling and opposition parties over the amendment plans of the Grain Management Act, making it mandatory for the market isolation of rice excessively produced ahead of the general meeting of the National Assembly Agriculture, Food, Rural Affairs, Oceans, and Fisheries Committee, scheduled for Monday.

On Sunday, the Korean government and the People Power Party convened a high-level government officials’ Council. They decided to buy the 450,000 tons of rice left unsold in the market with the government budget, which is the largest in history. Park Jung-ha, the senior spokesperson for the ruling party, said in the briefing, “This is a bolder decision during the harvest season, faster and bigger than the one in 2017 when the rice price rose through market isolation.”

The main opposition Democratic Party of Korea is having a final debate on whether to submit the amendment to the Monday general meeting of the Agriculture, Food, Rural Affairs, Oceans, and Fisheries Committee as scheduled against the government’s announcement. Previously, the party, which approved the amended bills on its own at the Bill Review Subcommittee, planned to push forward with the amendment until the approval by the general meeting if the government policy is not satisfactory. However, with the announcement of the most significant market isolation in history by the government ruling party, concerns are rising that DPK may face a backlash if it pushes ahead with the bill approval by force.

The opinion within the opposition party is split as well. Rep. Kim Seung-nam issued a press release and criticized that the government measures are only for a shift and temporary remedies. On the other hand, another lawmaker with the Agriculture, Food, Rural Affairs, Oceans, and Fisheries Committee offered positive feedback, “450,000 tons is not bad.” The opposition party’s floor spokesman Oh Young-hwan, told reporters on the day, “The isolation between the government and the ruling party is welcome.” Still, to the question on the approval (of the bill) by the party alone, he answered, “It is possible because (the government measures) could be effective only for the time being.”