|Farmers Protesting against the CPTPP (agrinet.co.kr)|
Farmers’ opposition to joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has continued to grow since the previous government. With a free trade agreement (FTA) between countries in the Asia-Pacific area led by Japan, the CPTPP accounts for 15.2% of global trade. If Korea joins the CPTPP, it is expected to expand and diversify the trade market: Korea can trade more actively with CPTPP member countries that account for about 23% of domestic trade and establish new trade relations with new countries such as Mexico. Accordingly, the previous government announced that they would join the CPTPP by this April, and the new government will make efforts to promote this project as well. However, joining the CPTPP easily seems impossible due to farmers’ opposition. Since the CPTPP has a principle of tariff elimination and most CPTPP member countries consist of agricultural export powerhouses, Korean farmers who cannot secure competitiveness will suffer damage from increased imports. In addition, the National Assembly Agriculture and Oceans Committee are against joining the CPTPP, concerned that the importation of agricultural products from Fukushima would spread to the issue of public health, further causing great national antipathy beyond farmers’ opposition. As the intensification of farmers’ opposition and the government resistance emerge, conflicts over joining the CPTPP are increasing.
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