The Seoul government is set to announce its final plans for inaugurating the rice markets beyond all the objections.
During the last public hearing, held at the National Assembly on Friday,Yeo In-hong, vice minister of agriculture, food, and rural affairs said that the government could not no longer delay the opening of rice market by imposing the taxes on rice imports with the deadlines set by world trade organization.
Yeo In-hong said that the government have to make choice between the putting off liberalization and opening rice market,so the government chooses the later option better.
The ministry has reportedly has announced that the tariff prices would range from 400 to 500 percent. The vice minister said the duty rate had not yet been fixed.
The local farmers are still against the market liberalization but they can agree over the opening of rice market in the country only if the government imposes the
maximum high tariff on rice import said the Korean Advanced Farmers Federation.
The progressive Korean Peasants League, however, is strongly protesting the market opening, refering worries about free trade agreements’ potential threats to the local agricultural industry.
The progressive farmers’ group insists that the government should request a waiver from the WTO to keep its restrictions on imported rice, though it still requires approval from the members of trade organization.
South Korea must make a decision on the rice market as the current waiver deal with the WTO ends this year.
The country was allowed to delay its rice market liberalisation for 10 years under a 1993 agreement with the WTO in which the country agreed to increase its minimum market access import quota by 20,000 tonnes per year. The government extended the agreement by 10 years in 2004.