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Developing country status to be maintained at WTO

July 29,2019
Korea said Saturday it is maintaining trade measures to support the domestic agriculture industry, including high tariffs for imported rice and subsidies for local farmers, after U.S. President Donald Trump’s remarks suggesting a push to exclude Korea from the developing country list under the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

The statement by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs came as Trump directed the U.S. Trade Representative to push for changes in WTO rules in a way so certain “rich” countries won’t get special treatment by designating themselves as developing economies.

The U.S. president’s remark drew Seoul’s attention as he mentioned several countries by name, including South Korea, as candidates for a review of their status. Korea imposes a 513-percent tariff on imported rice, among other government subsidies.

The agriculture ministry said Washington has supported WTO member countries in maintaining the benefits they currently receive, and that there will be no change in the tariff or subsidy systems.

“There have been discussions on tariff and subsidy cuts for agricultural produce in 2008 WTO documents. But no meaningful progress has been made due to the differences between developed and developing nations,” the ministry said in the release.

Yonhap