July 13, 2011


South Korea's beef, pork imports soar



Imports of pork and beef into South Korea rose sharply in the first half of the year despite rising prices, with pork coming mostly from the US and beef from Australia.


According to the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Tuesday (Jul 12), South Korea imported 219,869 tonnes of pork from January to June, up 119.8% from 100,032 tonnes in the same period last year.


A ministry official said there were more imports because the price of pork in Korea soared due to outbreaks of foot and mouth disease (FMD). The government's decision to exempt 95,000 tonnes of imported pork from the 25% tariff to stabilize pork price also played a role.


The US was the main exporter of pork to Korea, with 95,421 tonnes or 43.4% of total imports, 3.2 times more than a year ago. During the same period, imports of Canadian pork also skyrocketed 191.2%, from 10,775 tonnes to 31,379 tonnes.


Some 153,864 tonnes of beef were imported in the first half of the year, up 33.7% from a year ago. Imports of Australian beef rose 28.2% on-year to 72,959 tonnes, accounting for 47.4% of total imports, while US beef saw a 52.8% increase to 57,923 tonnes.


Huh Duk of the Korea Rural Economic Institute said although the price of home-grown beef has gone down, it is still considerably more expensive than imported beef, which explains the increase in imports.

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