February 24, 2011


South Korea to raise tariff-free pork imports, powdered milk



The South Korea government has resolved to increase tariff-free pork and powdered milk imports in an attempt to relieve supply shortages caused by the ongoing epidemic of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the country.


This is also to curb inflation, according to a senior finance ministry official said last Friday (Feb 18).


In a meeting involving economy-related officials in the country, Vice Finance Minister Yim Jong-yong said the nation plans to increase the quota of tariff-free pork from 60,000 tonnes last month to a total of 110,000 tonnes, and powdered milk to 30,000 tonnes in the first half of the year. It also will import 200,000 tonnes of raw milk at a lower tariff.


According to the ministry, the amount of milk produced in South Korea is expected to reduce by 20,000 tonnes to 190,000 tonnes this year due to widely-spread FMD.


The outbreak of the high contagious, the fifth in South Korea since 2000 and by far the severest, was first confirmed on November 29 last year in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, and has spread to nine cities and provinces so far. The disease has forced South Korea to slaughter more than 3.3 million livestock, mostly cattle and pigs.


In addition, the government also plans to add 24 other imported items, including dairy products, egg chickens, cotton yarn and aluminium, to its tariff quota list in the first half of the year, to help stabilize prices in the domestic market.


According to reports, the tariff quota allows the government to cut tariff on the import of up to 40% in order to stabilize prices or to help certain industries.

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