July 8, 2011


South Korea to lower tariffs on more pork imports



South Korea will expand the amount of imported pork subject to lower tariffs as part of efforts to stabilise food prices and ease inflationary pressure.


"We will significantly expand the amount of pork imports subject to lower tariff rates, while at the same time encouraging producers and distributors to voluntarily cooperate in stabilizing prices," Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan told an anti-inflation policy meeting on Thursday (Jul 8).


He added that the government will sell its reserve and imported rice to local consumers at cheaper prices, to induce price stability of the staple grain.


The move comes as South Korea's inflation has remained high for a prolonged period of time, giving rise to concerns that price instability could hurt the ongoing economic recovery.


The nation's consumer prices jumped 4.4% last month from a year earlier, marking the sixth straight month that the figures exceeded the government's annual inflation target of 4%.


To help consumers cope better with price hikes on their own, Bahk said that the government will establish a comprehensive online price information system by linking 80 price comparison websites.


He reaffirmed that the government will focus on "market-friendly" price stability measures, and promised to provide diverse benefits for stores deemed to be helping the ongoing efforts to stabilize prices of consumer products and services.

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