South Korea has asked its major trade partners including China and the United States for cooperation in its upcoming negotiations to set tariff rates on its rice imports, the trade ministry said Sunday.
South Korea on Friday announced that it will open its rice market to tariffed imports, ending a 20-year waiver that had capped the import of the grain to a set minimum. It now has to negotiate the tariff rates with the World Trade Organization (WTO) before the market opening from Jan. 1 next year, according to South Korea's (Yonhap) News Agency.
In a bid to discuss cooperation in future talks, South Korea's Trade Minister Yoon Sang-jick held a series of bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the US, China, India, Canada, Australia and France on the sidelines of a meeting of trade ministers from the Group of 20 nations held on Saturday in Sydney, the ministry said.
During the meetings, Yoon explained his government's policy on the tariffication of the rice market and asked his counterparts to support South Korea in the negotiations with the WTO, the ministry said.
In addition to the rice market, Yoon also discussed other pending economic issues with the trade ministers, the ministry said.
Yoon and his counterparts from Australia and Canada agreed to cooperate to bring their bilateral free trade agreements into force.
In talks with his Indian counterparts, Yoon discussed follow-up measures to honor agreements reached at the South Korea-India summit in January, the ministry said.