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Lawmaker claims Korean agriculture sector will sustain much more damage than Government estimates

Business Korea | 7 Septembre 2015

Lawmaker claims Korean agriculture sector will sustain much more damage than Government estimates

Michael Herh

The Korea-China FTA will increase agricultural imports from China by 12.8 trillion won [US$10.6 billion], while scaling down Korea’s farming production by 6.7 trillion won [US$5.6 billion],” said representative Shin Jeong-hun of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy who belongs to the Agriculture, Forestry, Livestock, Food and Fishery Committee at the National Assembly on Sept. 7. Rep. Shin said that he reached that conclusion after analyzing the report titled “Questions and Answers about Profits that China Will Be Able to Gain via the Korea-China FTA,” which includes data in the China-Korea FTA Joint Research Report by Governments, Industries and Academies of Korea and China, which was produced from 2007 through May 2010. But the lawmaker claimed that the Korean version does not have such content.

In 2012, a Chinese expert expected Korea’s agricultural and fishery imports to rise by 11.9 trillion won (US$10 billion) and Korea’s agricultural productivity to drop up to 14.7 percent (6.9 trillion won or US$5.7 billion) in a contribution based on domestic data, Rep. Shin said. That is to say, even though domestic reports warned that the Korean agricultural sector would sustain huge damage, the results of such research were not made public in Korea, the lawmaker added. In particular, Rep. Shin claimed that it is suspicious that before the ratification of the Korea-China FTA by the National Assembly of Korea, the Korean government intentionally scaled down the amount of damage in the Korean agricultural sector by making a financial plan to support Korean farmers with 225.9 billion won (US$187.3 million) only, based on 154 billion won (US$127.7 million) in agricultural damage for 20 years. Rep. Shin added that the 154 billion won in agricultural damage for 20 years is what the government claims. But the 6.7 trillion won in the joint report is a whopping 43 times as much as the 154 billion won in the Korean government’s report.

Moreover, he said, “Among a total of 18 Korea-China research papers by outside researchers, only three papers were made public, and the joint FTA effects evaluation paper between the two nations is the only report that directly dealt with effects evaluation,” Rep. Shin said. “Did the government disclose figures friendly with the government’s intentions only?”

Rep. Shin demanded that the government immediately disclose the results of the evaluation of the Korea-China FTA’s effects, saying, “The Korean government itself is losing its trust from people by not closing data based on trade secrecy under the circumstances where the Korea-China FTA will bring huge damage to the Korean agricultural community.”

 source: Business Korea