Developing Countries Will Lead Global Rice Import Growth in 2013-22, Says USDA Rice growers positive California MG prices are UP Russia MG Harvest coming to end Egypt open rice exports Vietnam’s rice export in tough competition with India Thai rice exports in May Rise Above Target This Year Viet-Nam Rice exports likely to fall this year
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S. Korean Farmers Protest Against Rice Market Opening
South Korean farmers, angered by a tentative government decision to double rice imports over the next decade, held violent street demonstrations across Seoul on Monday, causing serious traffic snarls.

Farmers associated with the Korean Peasants League (KPL) staged disorderly rallies at about 10 locations in the capital city, demanding that the government give up plan to finalize rice talks with exporters by year's end and hold sufficient dialogue with the people, including farmers.

The demonstrations were held in front of the National Assembly in Yeoido and on major traffic intersections and Han River bridges leading to the Seoul-Busan expressway, the city's busiest. Some farmers blockaded roads in Yeoido and major bridges over the Han River with more than 100 tractors, trucks and vans.

Police arrested about 310 demonstrating farmers and seized about 240 illegal items, a spokesman for the National Police Agency said, adding that about 7,000 riot policemen were mobilized across Seoul.

KPL leaders held a news conference in front of the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae Monday afternoon and asked for greater government efforts to seek a national consensus on rice market opening. They said local farmers are already heavily indebted and their plight would worsen if cheaper rice from China and the United States flood into the domestic market.

The Agriculture Ministry said last Friday the South Korean government has tentatively agreed to allow rice imports of up to 8 percent of domestic consumption by 2014.

According to the rules of the World Trade Organization, South Korea has been holding trade talks with the U.S., China, Thailand and six other rice-exporting countries that demand South Korea open its market wider.

Under a 1994 global free trade agreement, South Korea was allowed to limit rice imports to 4 percent of domestic consumption, or about 205,000 tons a year. The government said it may increase the quota by 0.4 percent annually to 8 percent by 2014. After that, South Korea must open its market with tariffs.
MGR Archive 21.12.2004
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