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.