According to the sources, it has been reported that the disputes between the South Korean government and those of the United States, Australia, Vietnam, China and Thailand over the tariff rate to be applied to rice imported by South Korea are continuing for about a year and four months. It has been revealed that, it is back in September 2014, the South Korean government decided to impose a 513% tariff on the rice for the first time in two decades. However, the South Korean government had remained opposed to tariffication, which means the opening of the rice market, but changed its mind as the 5% tariff rate quota (TRQ) increased to as much as 409,000 tons, which is equivalent to 4% of South Korea’s rice consumption, as a result of the objection to tariffication. Then, the five countries resisted, claiming that the tariff rate adopted by the South Korean government was in excess, and have been engaged in negotiations over the appropriateness of the tariff rate accordingly.
Further, in this matter as per a WTO agreement, the tariff rate is to be determined based on the difference between the prices of domestic and foreign rice in 1986 to 1988. However, controversies lie in the fact that South Korea used the price of imported rice used by China, instead of that of rice it imported, as the international price. While, in this regard, the South Korea used China’s price in the calculation because it did import some rice at that time but the amount was too small and commercially insignificant, as it has been explained by the South Korean government. In response to this, the five countries are claiming that the price used by China was inappropriate because China at that time was not a market economy and the Chinese government might have intervened in the estimation of the price too.