The Korea Herald

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Livestock farmers to get cash subsidies over FTA

By Korea Herald

Published : Feb. 29, 2012 - 17:06

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Livestock and dairy farmers who are hurt by free trade pacts will be eligible to receive direct cash assistance from the government, the Farm Ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry said it has set up an evaluation system to measure fallout in the livestock sector caused by opening the domestic market to cheaper meat and dairy products from abroad.

It said cash assistance will be given if prices of locally produced farm products such as meat, milk and eggs fall noticeably after a free trade agreement is implemented.

The announcement comes as South Korea moves to implement a bilateral FTA with the United States on March 15. It already has liberal trade arrangements with the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Chile.

“If the average price of a product falls by more than 10 percent after an FTA goes into effect compared to when there was no open trade pact, direct cash assistance that can cover 90 percent of the losses will be handed out,” an official source said.

In addition to direct cash compensation for lost earnings, Seoul will offer support to farmers who opt not to raise livestock in the future.

If a farm stops raising animals, the government will give a lump sum of money equivalent to earnings that it would have pocketed for three years, the ministry said.

The ministry, meanwhile, said it has designated the Korea Rural Economic Institute and the Korea Maritime Institute as the organizations that will better determine the impact of imports on local market prices and help consult farmers. 

(Yonhap News)