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South Korea reaches agreement on guaranteed market access for rice

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Korea has agreed to include a 408,700-tonne tariff-rate quota for rice imports from the US, Australia, China, Thailand and Vietnam in its World Trade Organization Schedule.

In 2014, the US, Australia, China, Thailand and Vietnam entered into negotiations with Korea when its special treatment for rice market access under the World Trade Organization (WTO) expired. As a result of these negotiations, Korea agreed to include in its WTO Schedule a 408,700-tonne tariff-rate quota for rice imports with a five percent in-quota duty and a 513-percent above-quota duty.

Of that 408,700 tonnes, Korea will allocate 388,700 tonnes of rice into country-specific quotas under a Plurilateral Agreement with the US, Australia, China, Thailand and Vietnam. The remaining 20,000 tonnes will be administered on a global basis.

Under the agreement, Korea will provide access for 132,304 tonnes of US rice annually, with an annual value of approximately $110 million. Korea also agreed to important disciplines to ensure transparency and predictability around the tendering and auctioning for US rice.

“This agreement gives our farmers the largest volume of guaranteed market access for rice in Korea that the United States has ever enjoyed,” said US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer. “It will prove enormously beneficial for American producers and their customers in Korea, who will enjoy access to high quality and cost competitive US rice.”

US Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, added: “Exports are critical for the economic health of the US rice industry, with half our crop being exported every year. Agreements like this, that expand opportunities for US rice producers in important markets, are critical to introduce foreign customers to the bounty of goods produced by America’s farmers.”

The agreement will enter into force on 1 January 2020.



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