Korea's trade policy is facing serious challenges both at
home and abroad. With its total trade volume amounting to three
quarters of its GNP and its aspiration to continue its export-led
high economic growth, the Republic (hereafter referred to simply
as 'Korea') is a trade-dependent developing country with a large
stake in the smooth functioning of the liberal international
trading system. But there has been a continuing erosion of the
principle of liberal international trade, and while their country is
one of those that are called upon to joint the effort to arrest this
drift, Koreans are uncertain about how best to response to it.
Korea's trade-policy decisions are shaped by two opposite
currents. Liberalism constitutes the upper current and recently it
has brought about important initiatives to liberalize imports.
Protectionism is the undercurrent, and it creates resistance to
import liberalization. As a result, the future course of Korea's
trade policy is not very clear. The challenge is to curb
protectionism by addressing its underlying cause and to ensure
continued liberalization of the country's imports, thereby also
contribution to the improvement of the international trading
environment ar large.
This paper discusses this challenge. Section Ⅰexamines
Korea's trading environment from the viewpoint of an exporter.
Section Ⅱ examines the structure of Korea's own trade policy
with regard to both imports and exports. Section Ⅲ discusses
Korea's trade policy problems in general. Section Ⅳ identifies
import liberalization as Korea's key trade policy objective and
discusses a few specific initiatives addressed to it.