S. Korea defends 513% tariff on rice imports from five export majors

2019.11.19 15:47:45

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South Korea has received consent for its 513-percent rice import tariff from global farming majors after five long years of negotiation and World Trade Organization’s verification process, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs on Tuesday.

The ministry said its trade partners agreed with WTO on closing the verification process for Korea’s proposed 513 percent tariff on foreign rice. In 2014, Korea proposed levying 513 percent tariff on rice imports to WTO. Its proposal was met with complaint from world’s five major rice exporters – the U.S., China, Australia, Thailand, and Vietnam, leading WTO to verify Korea’s 513-percent tariff.

With the verification process finally settled, Korea will levy 513 percent tariff on imported rice and also maintain tariff rate quota of 408,700 tons. The tariff rate quota refers to the amount of rice the country must import on low tariff rate.

Of the total rate quota of 408,700 tons, 388,700 tons will be applied to the five countries based on their rice export volume to Korea from 2015 to 2017. The largest 157,195 tons will go to China, followed by the U.S. with 132,304 tons. Vietnam will get 55,112 tons, Thailand 28,494 tons, and Australia 15,595 tons.

The new quota will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Upon joining WTO in 1995, Korea has employed tarriffcation on all agricultural products, meaning any produce could be imported when tariff is paid. But rice was given an exception, with tarriffcation deferred twice since then. After moratorium period for rice ended in 2014, Korea decided to include rice in the tarriffcation and informed WTO it would impose 513 percent tariff on rice imports.

By Pulse

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