Go to contents

Chinese Marine Products Imports on Sharp Rise

Posted December. 26, 2001 09:24,   


The Chinese marine products are making inroads in the domestic market very rapidly with great price competitiveness. And since they are sometimes sold in the market pretending to be an expensive Korean product, the domestic fishers have suffered from a great deal of damage by the Chinese products.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries announced yesterday that Korea has imported Chinese marine products of 402,000 ton (equivalent to 520 million dollars) until the end of October this year, marking the sharp increase by 42 percent compared to the total imports of last year (283,000 ton equivalent to 487 million dollars). This amount is close to four times of the imports in 1997 or 1998.

Accordingly, the portion of Chinese products among the total imports rose from 22.0 percent in 1997 to 46.9 percent this year.

The kinds of major imported products and their amounts are as follows; ▲ frozen sand lance 160,097 ton, ▲ frozen yellow corbina 51,883 ton, ▲ frozen small octopus 18,311 ton, ▲ frozen hairtail 16,683 ton, ▲ live carp 8,251 ton, ▲ frozen frogfish 7,073 ton, ▲ frozen swellfish.

The imports of Chinese marine products have sharply increased, because of their cheap prices, and China`s neighboring location taking advantage of cheap distribution cost and the relatively easy maintenance of the freshness of marine products.

China is the greatest fishing country in the world, which produces the largest amount of marine products with the advanced cultivating technology. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recently reported that as of the year of 1999, China produced the marine products 17.7 times larger than Korea.

The quality of Chinese marine products has been known to be inferior to the Korean marine products because of the cheap prices, but in actuality this is not the case. For instance, Chinese live croaker have been very popular in seafood restaurants since it has a good quality with a cheap price, falling short of one third of the price of the domestic flatfish. Therefore, the consumers can barely distinguish Chinese live croaker from the Korean products.

As the domestic fishers came to suffer serious damage from the imported Chinese live croaker, the government is trying to establish the countermeasure such as the increase of import duties from 10 percent to 50 percent, and the introduction of product origin marking system. But the fishery industry circles point out that the government`s measures are too late to compensate the damages of the Korean fishers.

Kwang-Am Cheon iam@donga.com