South Korea to special status at WTO amid US pressure

South Korea to special status at WTO amid US pressure

Agency News

Seoul, Oct 25 : South Korea has decided to give up its status as a developing economy at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) after pressure from the United States, the country’s finance minister Hong Nam-ki said on Friday.

"The government has decided not to seek special treatment as a developing country from future negotiations at WTO," Hong said in a media briefing on Friday. The move comes after US President Donald Trump expressed grievance over some nations whose economic criteria put them in line with advanced economies while they still enjoy privileges as developing countries, which allows them to negotiate special conditions.

South Korea has held on to its special status since the foundation of the WTO in 1995 in order to protect its vulnerable rice industry. It does this by imposing high tariffs on imports of rice imports, mainly from the US.

Hong explained that agricultural subsidies will remain unchanged and that negotiation on new trade deals may take years, which will provide ample time for industries to brace for possible impacts.

An agricultural union representing about 300,000 South Korean farmers voiced its opposition to the move and vowed to hold rallies to pressure the government to retract the decision, according to Korean news agency Yonhap.Mexico, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are also some countries whose economies have seen significant advancements but still maintain a special bargaining power at the WTO.(UNI)