7/21/09

Free Food

"Were we directed from Washington when to sow, when to reap, we should soon want bread."
--Thomas Jefferson

* * *

According to the Korea Herald: Korea struggles with rising cost of food

Another headline for the article could be, "Korean farmers benefit from government intervention in agriculture."

Here are my suggestions:

1) Drop trade barriers and quotas on agriculture for a year. Of course, continue with safety inspections. Korea would be flooded with food, cheaper food, from around the world. Again, continue with safety inspections.

2) Work out a deal so that American farmers paid to destroy food and not farm some land to keep prices down instead can ship it to South Korea. But would South Korea accept such "food dumping"?

CJL

By the way, here is the table of contents of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement. It may be the best I can expect when governments agree on "free" trade. Managed trade would seem to be more accurate.

http://www.ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements/korus-fta/final-text

Sections and their page lengths: Agriculture: 25 pages long.
Rules of Origin and Origin Procedures: 105 pages
Textiles and Apparel: 41 pagesInvestment: 35 pages.
Final services: 25 pagesTelecommunications: 35 pages
Government Procurement: 16 pages
Intellectual Property Rights: 34 pages
Environment: 9 pages
Institutional Provisions and Dispute Settlement: 14 pages
Annex (Korea): 60 pages
Annex (United States): 16 pages
Tariff Schedule (Korea): 224 pages

Of course, there are a lot of controls in the "Free Trade" agreement.

Such as: "A person that supplies leasing, rental, maintenance, repair, sales, and disposal services related to construction machinery and equipment must establish an office in Korea."
"A person that supplies automobile management services (which includes used car sales, maintenance, repair, and disposal services) must establish an office in Korea and obtain authorization from the head of the si/gun/gu (municipal authorities) , which is subject to an economic needs test, as appropriate. "
"A person that supplies automobile inspection services that is designated as a “designated repair facility” must establish an office in Korea."
"A person that supplies license plate manufacturing, delivery, and seal services that is designated as a “license plate issuing agency” must establish an office in Korea."
"A person that supplies tobacco wholesale (including importation) or retail distribution services must establish an office in Korea."
"Foreign persons may not: (i) invest in an enterprise engaged in rice or barley farming; or (ii) hold 50 percent or more of the equity interest of an enterprise engaged in beef cattle farming."
"Only a natural person that is a licensed an-gyung-sa (optician or optometrist) that has established an office in Korea may engage in optician or optometry services."
"An an-gyung-sa (optician or optometrist) may not establish more than one office."
"Only the Korea Railroad Corporation may supply railroad transportation services on railroad routes constructed on or before June 30, 2005."
"Only a Korean national may supply maritime pilotage services."
"In order to obtain a trucking business license from the Minister of Construction and Transportation, a domestic courier services supplier must establish an office in the relevant geographic area. Such a license is subject to an economic needs test."
"A foreign person, a foreign government, or a Korean enterprise owned or controlled by a foreign person that intends to conduct marine scientific research in the territorial waters or exclusive economic zone of Korea must obtain prior authorization or consent from the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries whereas a Korean national or a Korean enterprise not owned or controlled by a foreign person need only to provide notification to the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries."
"duties on originating goods provided for in the items in staging category U shall be subject to the following provisions
(1) for goods entered into Korea from December 1 through April 30, duties shall be eliminated entirely and such goods shall be duty-free on the date this Agreement enters into force; and
(2) for goods entered into Korea from May 1 through November 30, duties shall remain at base rates during years one through seven.
Beginning January 1 of year eight, duties shall be reduced in eight equal annual stages, and such goods shall be duty-free, effective January 1 of year 15;(i) duties on originating goods provided for in the items in staging category V shall be subject to the following provisions:
(1) for goods entered into Korea from May 1 through October 15, duties shall be removed in 17 equal annual stages beginning on the date this Agreement enters into force, and such goods shall be duty-free, effective January 1 of year 17; and
(2) for goods entered into Korea from October 16 through April 30, duties shall be reduced to 24 percent ad valorem on the date this Agreement enters into force. Beginning January 1 of year two, duties shall be removed in four equal annual stages, and such goods shall be duty-free, effective January 1 of year five;"
"Cinema operators must project Korean motion pictures for at least 73 days per year at each screen in Korea."etc.