South Korea Sets $8.1 Billion Agro-Food Export Goal For 2016

February 4, 2016 – South Korea aims to export US$8.1 billion in agro-food products in 2016 by taking full advantage of a free trade pact with China and by providing more support to farmers and food producers, the government said today.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Rural Affairs said the total marks a 33 percent on-year gain from $6.11 billion worth of goods shipped out in 2015.

Last year, Asia’s fourth-largest economy posted a 1.2 percent drop in agro-food exports compared to 2014, mainly due to the depreciation of the Japanese yen which hurt shipments to one of South Korea’s largest overseas markets.

The annual target comes as South Korea’s outbound shipments nosedived 18.5 percent on-year in January while those for agro-food products backtracked 5.9 percent.

“The current situation must be seen as an emergency,” said Agriculture Minister Lee Dong-phil while chairing a meeting of farm and food-related agencies, produce growers, food companies and think tanks.

The policymaker said the government will provide comprehensive support to prop up exports.

The ministry said to meet the target, a task force will be set up to help South Korean farmers and food manufacturers use the free trade agreement (FTA) with China to their advantage. The country wants to ship out $1.4 billion worth of products to the world’s No. 2 economy this year, which exceeds the $1.3 billion target set for Japan.

It said more farms dedicated to exporting produce will be set up which can help improve quality and lower production costs. This can give such growers an edge compared to rivals.

The ministry also said it will offer 1.4 billion won (US$1.16 million) to improve agro-food related packaging, with more marketing efforts being made to win over consumers in China and Muslim countries. Muslim countries that generally import Halal food could account for $500 million of South Korea’s food and farm exports this year.

In addition, the government wants to push up exports of vaccines and veterinary equipment to $2.5 million in 2015, up 18 percent from last year, while boosting shipments of farm equipment, likes tractors to $9.3 million from $8.91 million in 2015.


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