SEOUL, September 30 -- South Korea has informed the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it intends to open up the country's rice market with an import tariff reaching 513 percent.
."The government has submitted to the WTO secretariat its plan to revise the country's tariff rate on rice imports ahead of market opening through tarrification that will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015," Yonhapnews quoted South Korea's Trade, Industry and Energy Ministry as saying.
South Korea has started its rice market liberalization process in accordance with an agreement it had with the WTO that granted South Korea a 20-year quota agreement for this purpose. The tariff South Korea has established for its rice market will have to be approved by the WTO. Currently, South Korea is importing only 408,900 tons of rice annually under the WTO's Minimum Market Access (MMA) quota.
According to South Korea's Agriculture Minister Lee Dong-phil, the country is unable to expand its MMA import quota, especially now that consumer interest in rice is sliding.