Farmer Attempts Suicide at GATT Headquarters
GENEVA (AP) _ A South Korean farm official tried to kill himself at the headquarters of the world’s main free-trade association Monday, apparently to protest attempts to open his country’s market to imports, officials said.
The man pulled out a Swiss army knife and plunged it into his stomach as he was about to leave the building on Lake Geneva where the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is based, the officials said.
He was rushed to a hospital for emergency treatment and his life was out of immediate danger, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The man was identified as Kyung-Hae Lee, president of the Korean National Future Farmer’s and Fisherman’s Association, one of the country’s main farming lobby groups. He was part of a five-member delegation visiting GATT to highlight the problems of South Korean farmers.
GATT, a 100-nation trade forum, is in the final stages of four-year negotiations to liberalize world trade.
The talks, which are scheduled to end in early December, have prompted demonstrations in South Korea where farmers fear increased competition from imports, particularly in the sensitive rice market.