Market Information   >   Food News Clipping

Food News Clipping

January 16 - 22, 2021


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues

Today's Date: Friday, January 22, 2021

For Coverage: January 16 ~  22, 2021


Korean Laver Farms in Trouble due to Heavy Inflow of Chinese Seaweed

Summary: Korean laver farms in west and south seas are in trouble due to heavy inflow of foreign seaweed (sargassum weed) from China. The Chinese seaweed gets tangled into underwater cultivation beds in the farms, restricting efficient harvest of laver.  The farms will likely see a significant decline in harvest this season.


513% Tariff Rate Confirmed to Protect Korean Rice Industry

Summary:  On January 22nd, MAFRA announced that a partial revision of the Korean concession tariff table firming up the import tariff on rice as 513% was promulgated in its official gazette, and that the procedure for rice tariffication was completed.  According to the revised schedule, a tariff rate of 513% is applied to rice products (16 tariff classification numbers), and the lower rate tariff (5%) quota of 408,700 tons remains the same.  This reflects the original rice tariffication schedule that Korea submitted to WTO in September 2014.


Korean Government Lowers Import Duties on Egg Products to Zero Percent until June 30 … Up to 50,000 Metric Tons

Summary: The Korea Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) announced on January 20 that import duties on egg products (fresh and processed) will be temporary lowered to zero percent until June 30.  MAFRA added that the duty elimination will be limited to the first 50,000 metric tons of products imported.  Current Korean import duties on egg products are 8 to 30 percent.


Ebay Korea Offers GMARKET and AUCTION for Acquisitions

Summary: Ebay Korea, a subsidiary of Ebay USA, is offering its Korean on-line shopping platforms, GMARKET and AUCTION, for acquisition.  GMARKET and AUCTION are one of leading on-line shopping platforms in Korea, generating 1.9 trillion won of sales ($1.7 billion) and $56 million in operating profits in 2019.  Ebay's decision to sell the platforms is increased competition in the industry.  Ebay's target price for the platforms is $4.6 billion.


Sales of Premium Gift Sets Expand for Lunar New Year's Day Shopping This Year, EMART

Summary: EMART, the leading hypermarket grocery retailer in South Korea, reported on January 21 that sales of premium gift sets, retail price of 200,000 won ($186) or higher, offered for the upcoming Lunar New Year's Day saw 244 percent growth since launching in December 24.  As a result, premium gift sets accounted for 10 percent of all gift set sales this season, a large increase from 5 percent last season.  Some popular premium gift sets in EMART are top grade hanwoo beef, premium French wine, and top quality dried fish.


Convenience Stores to Offer Specialty Products for Upcoming Valentine's Day

Summary: Convenience stores are busy preparing products for upcoming Valentine's Day (February 15) shopping season.  It is notable that the stores plan to offer specialty food products this year in addition to usual confectionery gift sets as more people are staying home due to social distancing and the fact that Lunar New Year's break (February 11-15) overlaps with Valentine's Day this year.  Specialty food offers will include steak cuts and assortments of cheeses that people can enjoy together at home over the holidays.


Consumptions of Imported Fruits and Meat Expected to Increase, while Those of Grains and Vegetables to Decrease in 2021

Summary:  On January 20th, 2021, the Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI) held its 24th Agricultural Outlook Forum on-line under the theme of 'Changes and Future of Agriculture and Rural Community after COVID-19'.  According to the presentations, due to the changes in Korean consumers' dietary habits, consumption of imported fruit and meat are expected to increase by 1.7% and 1.0% respectively on average by 2030.  Grain and vegetable consumptions are expected to decrease by 0.8% and 0.5% respectively.  Korea's total agricultural production this year is expected to reach 52,503 billion Korean Won ($47.8 billion), up 1.9% from the previous year.


Korean Government to Lower Duties on Imported Eggs to Stabilize Prices

Summary: The Korean government is reportedly going to lower import duties on egg products as the supply from local farms declined significantly due to avian influenza (AI) outbreaks.  The retail price of fresh eggs in Korea reached 6,705 won ($6.1) per 30 egg pack on January 18, up 11 percent from January 7.  The Korean import duties on egg products are 27 percent on fresh eggs and 8-30 percent on processed products.  Marketers expect that the duties will be lowered to zero percent until the local farms recover.


Korean Government Confirms 67th HPAI Case in Local Farms

Summary: The Avian Influenza Management Center under the Korean government reported on January 19 that an egg farm in Yongin city, Gyeonggi province tested positive for high-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).  The number of local poultry farms that had HPAI outbreaks increased to 67.


Yogurt Market Sales Up 30%  in 2020

Summary: According to Neilson Korea, sales of yogurt products in Korea totaled 1.3 trillion won ($1.2 billion USD) in 2020, up 30 percent from the previous year.  Marketers explained that increased consumer attention to healthy diets during the COVID-19 pandemic led to the outstanding sales growth for yogurt.  Korean yogurt processors have expanded new product launchings during the year, particularly by incorporating functional ingredients such as lutein and collagen.


Ceiling for Agricultural Gifts under Anti-graft Act Increased to $182 for Lunar New Year's Day Season

Summary: The Korean government announced on January 15 that the ceiling for agricultural gifts allowed under the Anti-graft Act was increased to 200,000 won ($182) temporarily for the upcoming Lunar New Year's Day season.  The government explained that the measure was meant to support local growers and retailers who face serious economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


View List >

Agricultural Trade Office, U.S. Embassy - Seoul
Tel: 82-2-6951-6848 Fax: 82-2-720-7921