Posted March. 24, 2009 09:40,
With free trade talks between Korea and the European Union in their final stages, more EU foodstuffs are expected to appear in Korea due to lower tariffs, likely raising Koreas food imports from the EU.
Korea`s top agricultural import from the EU is frozen pork, with the country buying an average of nearly five billion U.S. dollars annually from the EU. As a major supplier of pork, the EU will likely increase its share in the Korean market once the free trade deal takes effect.
Another hot EU seller is wine, which has shot up in popularity in Korea. As the agreement will likely remove tariffs on imported wine products, Korean consumers will have more access to European wine at lower prices.
In addition, Korean consumption of EU cheese is also likely to increase. The country`s purchase of EU cheese rose from 47,000 tons in 2003 to 72,000 tons last year.
The abundant variety of European cheese will give far more choices to Korean consumers. An official at the Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry said, Korean consumers tend to prefer white cheese from Europe.
Not so happy about the opening of the domestic market is Korean farmers and food industry.
Seo Jin-gyo, head of the trade and investment policy team of the Korean Institute for International Economic Policy, said, In particular, the domestic livestock and dairy industries must enhance productivity through restructuring and transform themselves into more environmentally friendly industries to win over consumers.