The Cost of Food Self-Sufficiency and Agricultural Protection in South Korea
South Korea has the most supported agricultural sector among member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Public intervention mainly consists of high production prices supported by government purchases, together with high tariffs that protect domestic producers from foreign competition and implicitly tax consumers. Trade liberalization recently took place in particular sectors, and Korea is now a major importer of oilseeds and coarse grains. However, Korea only reluctantly exposed its agricultural sector to the provisions of the Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture (URAA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It has kept nearly prohibitive tariffs in the rice, meat, and dairy sectors; high production subsidies in most other sectors; and significant non-tariff trade barriers on many commodities, including administrative barriers (import monopolies) and sanitary restrictions.