Let­ter ups the ante in gar­lic dis­pute

China Daily (Canada) - - ONE WEEK FREE SMART EDITION - By ZHONG­NAN zhong­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Gar­lic farm­ers in Lan­ling county, Shan­dong prov­ince, have urged South Korean Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye to in­ter­vene in a dis­pute be­tween the Chi­nese sell­ers and South Korean im­porters.

The farm­ers posted an open let­ter to Park on Tues­day to de­mand fair treat­ment and to in­sist she re­solves the on­go­ing legal dis­pute, which came to a head af­ter a huge Chi­nese ship­ment of the crop was re­jected by a gov­ern­ment agency last month.

The state-run Korea AgroFish­eries and Food Trade Corp re­fused to ap­prove the im­port of 2,200 met­ric tons of gar­lic shipped by ex­porters in Lan­ling in Jan­uary be­cause of what they called qual­ity is­sues, re­sult­ing in a loss of more than 10 mil­lion yuan ($1.59 mil­lion) for the farm­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to the open let­ter, the farm­ers in­sist all the gar­lic from Lan­ling was care­fully se­lected based on the re­quire­ments of the ten­der doc­u­ment, and their ship­ments fol­lowed the in­struc­tions given by the South Korean au­thor­i­ties.

“We hope that you — Pres­i­dent Park Geun-hye — can un­der­stand our heart­break and the great fi­nan­cial losses in­volved. We and our rel­a­tives are ex­tremely up­set as the Chi­nese Lu­nar New Year is ap­proach­ing. We are will­ing to ap­peal to a South Korean court against the in­ad­e­quate de­ci­sion made by Korea AgroFish­eries and Food Trade Corp,” the open let­ter said.

Ea­ger to re­solve this dis­pute, China’sMin­istry of Com­merce posted a state­ment on its web­site onWed­nes­day, say­ing it had asked the eco­nomic and com­mer­cial coun­selor’s of­fice at the Chi­nese em­bassy in Seoul, and the pro­vin­cial com­merce depart­ment in Shan­dong to as­sist the ex­porters and farm­ers com­mu­ni­cate with the SouthKorean gov­ern­ment to set­tle the mat­ter.

Cat­e­go­riz­ing the is­sue as a trade con­tract dis­pute, the min­istry’s depart­ment of for­eign trade also urged its Asian neigh­bor to find a so­lu­tion.

The Chi­nese ex­porters and farm­ers said what they can­not ac­cept are the in­con­sis­tent ex­cuses given by South Korea. The Korea Agro-Fish­eries and Food Trade Corp had given a qual­ity in­spec­tion cer­tifi­cate be­fore the de­liv­ery of the prod­uct. How­ever, af­ter the first batch of gar­lic ar­rived in Bu­san in De­cem­ber, the coun­try’s agri­cul­ture depart­ment said the prod­ucts were un­qual­i­fied.

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