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Korea to Resume Rice Talks With US
Korea Times
Korea and the United States will hold their fourth meeting Friday on ways to open the Korean rice market.
Lee Jae-gil, deputy minister for the Doha Development Agenda Negotiations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, will head the Korean delegation.
Other talks are scheduled between Korea and China next Tuesday and Korea and Thailand next Friday.
The government has been holding negotiations with the nine major rice exporting countries, namely the U.S., China, Thailand, Australia, Argentina, Egypt, Canada, India and Pakistan.
But the government has failed to narrow differences in demands from the rice exporters as their demands are too various to pull out a common denominator, including rises in the MMA quota and trade-offs irrelevant to rice.
The government has expressed willingness to consider adopting a tariff system for rice imports if its trading partners push their excessive demands in upcoming negotiations.
Indications are that the Korean government would adopt tariffication with full market liberalization from the MMA.
Faced with what it calls excessive demands from its major trading partners, South Korea has tried to extend discussions on its rice market liberalization beyond September.
However, 114 people from farmer groups and non-governmental organizations have formed an alliance to work against the rice-market liberalization. The coalition announced the Sept. 6-12 period as ``a week to protect our rice’’ and has been staging all-night sit-down demonstrations in downtown Seoul.
It also plans to stage street rallies nationwide today and tomorrow in Seoul.
Currently, the prices of South Korean rice are four times higher than international prices, and the surplus reached 7.63 million sok in 2003. One sok equals 144 kilograms.
Under the 1994 Uruguay Round agreement, South Korea was given a grace period of 10 years to enjoy special treatment regarding rice imports, which will expire at the end of this year.
MGR Archive 10.9.2004
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Russia Rapan $ 700
USA Jupiter Rice $630
USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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