Korea’s Trade Liberalization and Consumer Welfare / Jin Kyo Suh, Chul Chung, Jun Won Lee

In this report, we examine and estimate the welfare impacts of trade liberalization and increased trade on consumers. Despite Korea’s continuous trade liberalization over the years, it is criticized that Korean consumers have rarely realized welfare enhancement due to tariff reduction or elimination. This report identifies factors affecting import prices other than tariffs such as exchange rates, marketing margins, distribution channels, and product variety. Policy implications are derived from the findings of the report; Fostering fair and competitive environments in the domestic market of the imported goods and concerted efforts by civil organizations and NGOs or consumer groups, such as frequent consumer price reviews on imported goods and relevant monitoring activities, should be encouraged for the benefits of consumers.

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