Press TV | 4 April 2022
South Korean farmers rally against free trade
by Frank Smith
Hundreds of South Korean farmers and fishers protested in the country’s financial and political center, Yeouido, demanding the government reconsider its intention to enter into yet another free trade agreement.
The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP, will follow in the footsteps of previous rounds of deals, that critics argue usher in cheap foreign goods, and jeopardise domestic producers.
The 11 member CPTPP includes Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Canada and Mexico. South Korea only a month ago joined a 15-member trade bloc led by China, as Seoul moves to open 90 percent of the country’s agricultural market. Farmers and fishers demand consultation.
Proponents say South Korea’s hi-tech export-led model needs all the help it can get, with the CPTPP deal set to boost the country’s GDP by one-third of one percent.
South Korea’s own Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy recognizes the negative impact of such free trade deals on those represented here, outside the country’s National Assembly. With a new corporate friendly conservative president set to take office in May, these farmers’ concerns over their livelihoods only grow.