Rice-exporting countries like China, US, Australia, Thailand and Vietnam have raised their objections with the World Trade Organization (WTO) to the nation’s tariff rate on rice imports.

Kim Kyung-mee, director of the ministry’s agriculture trade division has said that these countries have filed a complaint form with the WTO against our 513 percent tariff saying that the tariff rates are too high.

They also said that if this high tariff rate comes into force it will increase the local rice prices as the imported rice becomes costlier.

Last year, The QNA report has reported that S.Korea is planning to increase  the rice import tariff to protect the rice industry. The plan was a move to liberalize the rice industry from next year.

The ministry officials said that the increase in tariff for rice importation upto 400% is enough to protect the rice industry.

If all these rice  producing country agree upon the increased tariff rate than WTO may issue a certificate of approval to Korea.

Kim said that they are trying to negotiate with the five opposing rice exporters to get their consent.

“It is not a must for us to have other countries agree to the 513 percent rate. We can impose the tariff without their consent, but it is customary to have an agreement with all WTO members.”

Korea’s rate is much lower than Japan’s 1,066 percent and Taiwan’s 563 percent when they liberalized their rice markets.

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