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Food News Clipping

January 4 - 17, 2024


FAS/Seoul Monitoring of Media Reporting on Agricultural Issues 

Today's Date: Monday,  January 22,  2024

For Coverage:  January 4 ~ 17, 2024


Japan Retakes the No. 1 Beer Exporter to Korea Last Year
Summary:  In 2023, Japan reclaimed the position of the number one beer exporter to Korea for the first time in five years.  According to Korea Customs Service trade data on the 17th, imports of Japanese beer soared 283.3% year-on-year to $55.5 million last year.  On the other hand, Chinese beer exports, which ranked first in 2022, declined by 17.2% to $30.2 million compared to the previous year.  The top five beer exporters to Korea last year were Japan ($55.5 million), the Netherlands ($33.6 million), China ($30.2 million), the United States ($16.9 million) and Poland ($13.7 million).  On the contrary, the largest importers of Korean beer in 2023 were Hong Kong ($29.5 million), Japan ($13.9 million), the United States ($8.8 million), Mongolia ($8.7 million) and China ($3.2 million).

Total Fishery Production in 2024 is Expected to Increase by 2 Percent to 3.73 Million Tons
Summary:  The Korea Maritime Institute (KMI) held the ‘2024 Maritime and Fisheries Outlook Conference’ in Seoul on January 11th.  At the conference, the total fishery production in 2024 is expected to reach 3.73 million tons, a 2% increase from the previous year.  Director Kim Soo-Hyun in the KMI Fisheries Observation Center said that total seafood exports in 2024 is estimated to $3.09 billion, a 3% increase from the previous year due to increased exports through the decline in producer prices and the continued increase in seaweed exports, and total imports is estimated at $6.74 billion, a 6% increase due to the increase in consumption of main consumer-preferred fishery products such as fish, shellfish, crustacean, and squid.  The total self-sufficiency rate for fishery products is expected to drop from 74.1% in 2023 to 73% this year (53.7% for fish, 49.9% for shellfish, and 129.2% for seaweed).  Meanwhile, the fishing population in Korea has been decreasing from 90,804 people (42,536 households) in 2022 to 85,839 people (41,057 household) in 2023 and 83,321 people (40,335 households) in 2024.

(Table: Fishery production outlook by fishing types)

Slaughtering a Dog for Food is Punishable by Up To 3 Years in Prison… Special Law Passed by Korean National Assembly
Summary:  A special law on ending the breeding, slaughter, and distribution of dogs for food was passed by the National Assembly in Korea on January 9th.  Once the special act on dogs for food enters into effect, the operation of new or additional breeding farms and slaughter, distribution, and sales facilities for dogs for food is prohibited immediately.  Those facilities must report their operation status to the local government within 3 months after the promulgation.  Additionally, implementation plans to terminate their operation must be submitted within 6 months.  Under the enactment of the special act on dogs for food, the breeding, slaughter, distribution, and sales of dogs for the purpose of eating is prohibited, as in the United States and Taiwan, from 2027 after a three-year grace period.  In case of slaughter, imprisonment for up to 3 years or a fine of up to 30 million KRW ($23,000) is imposed.  In the event of breeding, propagation, distribution, and sales, imprisonment for up to 2 years or a fine of up to 20 million KRW ($15,000) is charged.

Seafood Exports Decreased to $3.004 Billion Last Year… Seaweed, Tuna, and Oyster Leading Exports
Summary:  The amount of total seafood exports in 2023 was $3.004 billion, a $146 million decrease from $3.15 billion the previous year.  Seaweed, which ranks number one in global market share, is estimated to have achieved a total export result of $790 million in the past year.  Tuna, the main product of deep-sea fishing, is exported in the form of raw materials to Japan, Thailand, etc., reached $560 million in exports.  Oysters, which has recently been gaining recognition overseas, are exported to Japan, the United States, etc., with a 2023 export value of $86 million, an 8% increase from the previous year.  Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Kang said, despite difficult export conditions such as a decline in global demand, they were able to achieve $3 billion in exports thanks to the continuous efforts of the entire fishing industry.


Korea Sets $700 Billion Exports Goal for 2024

Summary:  On Thursday, January 4th, the Korean government announced its 2024 economic policy directions.  According to these directions, Korea aims to push for $700 billion in exports in 2024, will spend nearly 11 trillion won ($8.39 billion) to try to bring inflation down to under 3% in the first half of the year, and bolster support for foreign investors, tourists, and manual laborers.  Overall, the Korean government expects to achieve higher grown in 2024 compared to other developed economies due to a recovery of exports.  The policies are established under four pillars: stabilizing the people’s livelihood, managing potential risks, activating a dynamic economy, and devising measures for future generations.


Proportion of Single-Person Households Jumps to 42% Last Year

Summary:  According to data from the Korean Ministry of the Interior, the number of single-person households in 2023 jumped to an all time high of 42% of all households.  According to the ministry, the number of two and three-person households both grew slightly while the number of four and five-person households decreased.  A ministry official noted that there is an increase in unmarried people, and seniors, living along, which has contributed to the increased percentage of single-person households. 


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