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In Brief : S. Korean Unveils Plan for Imports

From Times wire services

South Korea’s top trade official unveiled a comprehensive import-liberalization program today designed to tackle its surging current account surplus.

Trade Minister Han Seoung Soo spoke against a backdrop of increasing pressures on Seoul to open its markets and reduce a surplus which last year totaled nearly $14 billion.

Han told reporters that import restraints on about 540 farm and fishery products would soon be unshackled, on a step-by-step basis.

Curbs on imports of 46 still-prohibited manufactured items would be scrapped over two or three years, Han said.

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“Friction with our trading partners is worsening day by day because of the growing current account surplus. At home, the surplus is threatening to cause inflation spirals,” he said. “The appropriate solution is to buy more foreign goods by opening our import markets.”

Detailed guidelines are expected to be revealed at the end of February.


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