Agricultural Trade lssues

  • The year 2013 saw ever growing pressure on the Korean agricultural sector in terms of market openings mainly due to the government’s massive push for FTAs and as a result, Korean farmers were much more concerned about adverse effects of FTAs on agriculture.
  • The 1st stage of the Korea-China FTA negotiation, launched in May 2012, was concluded in September 2013. It was agreed then that each country is allowed to designate 10 percent of total tariff lines as highly sensitive products and that the issue of SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary measures)-related regionalization will be further discussed in the 2nd stage of the negotiation.
  • In light of the Korea-China FTA’s projected effects on agriculture as well as member farmers’ growing concerns about the negotiation, NACF delivered again a petition by member cooperatives to the National Assembly and relevant government ministries late August. In this petition, they urged the government to lower the ambition of the Korea-China FTA, designate a sufficient number of farm tariff lines as highly sensitive products, and refuse the proposed regionalization. In addition, NACF delivered its report on study tour to major Chinese breadbasket, which was carried out by NACF’s Agricultural Trade Committee in preparation for the Korea-China FTA October 14~18 2013, to the National Assembly and relevant government ministries in November 2013.
  • In late November 2013, the Korean government officially expressed its interest in joining the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). The TPP is a regional free trade agreement that is currently being negotiated by 12 countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam).
  • The TPP calls for comprehensive tariff elimination in trade in manufactured goods and agricultural products in 10 years and therefore, much more damages will likely be done to the Korean agricultural sector if Korea joins the TPP. For this reason, the Korean agricultural groups share the view that it would be difficult to support the government’s intention to join the TPP. In this regard, members of the NACF Agricultural Trade Committee requested the government authorities to reconsider its plan to join the TPP in view of its adverse effects on the agricultural sector.