June 8, 2022

South Korea expected to implement zero duty tariff quota on pork imports


South Korea is the latest country to suspend or reduce import tariffs in an effort to curb food price inflation.


This month, the South Korean government would implement a zero duty tariff rate quota (TRQ) on imported pork. The TRQ volume is expected to be about 50,000 tonnes.


Jessica Spreitzer, US Meat Export Federation director of trade analysis, explained that, as pork imports from the United States, the European Union and Chile already enter South Korea at zero duty under free trade agreements, the TRQ will mainly impact Canadian, Mexican and Brazilian pork.


"We had the announcement from the South Korean government that they would be establishing a duty free TRQ for pork imports," Spreitzer said. "So the US has duty free access for chilled and frozen pork through the KORUS free trade agreement that was implemented in 2012 and some of the other main suppliers, like Chile and the EU, also have duty free access through their FTAs. 


"But with our FTA, we are ahead of the schedule that Canada has through their FTA with Korea, so while the US is already duty free on chilled and frozen pork, Canada still is subject to duties on some chilled pork items. So 8.6% duties in 2022 compared to duty free access for the US."


For other suppliers without any FTAs, which would apply to Mexico and Brazil, there's a 25% duty on frozen pork and a 22.5% duty on chilled pork, Spreitzer said.


"Brazil's access is limited to just the state of Santa Catarina and because of the FMD free without vaccination status of that state. So so far, we've seen pretty limited exports from Brazil, less than 1% market share in 2021 for frozen pork imports, but this could open up a new opportunity for them to gain some share."


Although US pork will not benefit from this specific action, USMEF is encouraged by recent reductions in tariff rates.


"...overall, we do see this as more of a positive trend with countries taking these steps to do what they can to curb inflation," Spreitzer said. "On the consumer side tariffs add complications for international trade, so reducing tariffs is a positive overall."

- US Meat Export Federation

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