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South Korea to forgo developing country benefits in future trade talks

South Korea will give up the privileges it enjoys as a "developing country" under the World Trade Organization amid pressure from Washington, according to media reports.

"We are in a difficult situation to be recognized as a developing country for any longer in the international community, given South Korea's economic standing," Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said in a media briefing as quoted by the Yonhap News Agency.

The decision is "not to forgo the developing country status" but to no longer seek special privileges in future trade negotiations, Hong was quoted as saying by Reuters.

In July, President Donald Trump ramped up pressure on the WTO to prohibit certain economies from claiming developing-nation status that he said comes with "unfair advantages" in international trade. Trump named China, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Mexico, Turkey and South Korea as among those whose developing-nation status must be reviewed.

South Korea is a self-declared developing economy and has kept this status since 1995 to protect its agriculture sector, Yonhap said. The country imposes 513% tariffs on rice imports meeting a certain threshold.