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Gov’t identifies damage to 9 farm goods from FTAs

Korea Herald, Seoul

Gov’t identifies damage to 9 farm goods from FTAs

19 May 2015

(Yonhap) Producers of nine local farm goods have suffered damage from a rise in imports due to free trade agreements, becoming eligible for government support and compensation, the agriculture ministry said Tuesday.

In a meeting in Seoul, the government committee on support for farmers recognized that the agricultural products were affected by a sudden increase in imports in 2014, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. They include soybeans, potatoes, cherries, melons, grapes, chestnuts and chickens.

In 2014, the country’s cherry imports amounted to 13,360 tons while the compensation regulations for FTA damage require the government to consider support for local producers when annual cherry imports exceed only 5,993 tons.

Apparently due to the large inflow of imports, the average local price of cherries came to 8,279 won ($7.60) per kilogram, lower than the preset base price of 8,872 won per kilogram, according to the ministry.

The government recognition of FTA damage will entitle these producers to government compensation of up to 90 percent of the difference between the base price and average market price of their goods, the ministry said.

In addition to compensation, the government also named five products whose local producers may file for special government support if they wish to shut down their business.

This affects producers of cherries, chickens, chestnuts and two types of grapes.

Those who are already engaged in producing such products but wish to discontinue their business may be eligible for special support equivalent to three years of earnings, the ministry said.

So far, South Korea has signed 15 bilateral and multilateral FTAs with 52 countries, while 11 have already been implemented.