Korean Peasant League and Korean Women Peasants Association has condemned and outrightly rejected the US Demand to strip South Korea of the special and differential treatment under the World Trade Organization regime. South Korea has been maintaining its developing-country status since 1995 mainly to protect its sensitive agriculture industry.
The two peasant organisations have put out a joint statement in response;
16 Years ago on September 10th Gyeong-hae Lee shouted “WTO Kills FARMERS!” and killed himself in Cancun, Mexico. Since the beginning of the Uruguay Round and creation of the WTO, farmers around the world have not stopped fighting for food sovereignty and resisted the WTO which sees agriculture as object of free trade.
Today, agriculture in Korea is in total despair and needs urgent measures to stimulate the rural economy. As farmers are getting older, rural areas are turning into nursing homes for the aged. The prices of agricultural commodities have plunged, while competing with cheap imports. Farmers are threatened with unstable livelihoods and growing debt.
Agricultural ground in Korea which is already in deep crisis is getting even more unstable as US demanded South Korea to give up its status as a developing country in WTO in last July. Currently, South Korea imposes a 513 percent tariff on imported rice. It is estimated that the tariff rate of imported rice will drop from the current 513% to 154% once Korea loses its current status as US demands. According to the WTO regulations, agricultural subsidies to farmers will also be reduced by half.
What we need in Korea, where food self-sufficiency rate is merely 20%, is a clear measure to save agriculture and peasants and ensure healthy food. We will never accept the demand of Trump regime which is threatening our agricultural basis just to improve their trade balance.
It is now time to dismantle the WTO and stop the FTAs, which uses agriculture as object of free trades.
Korean peasants oppose the WTO and FTAs which sees agriculture a means of making profits in the name of free trade. In addition, we demand the implementation of public procurement policy to guarantee decent price of agricultural products and farmer’s pension scheme at the national level to reward multifunctional roles that peasants carry on.
We will fight in solidarity with peasants around the world for promoting local peasant trade system over global free trade.
We demand food sovereignty, not free trade.
“WTO, FTAs Out of Agriculture and Food!”
“Peasant Trade Systems Over Free Trade”
“Food Sovereignty, not Free Trade!”
10 Sep 2019
Korean Women Peasants Association(KWPA)
Korean Peasants League(KPL)