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South Korea Imports More Pork

South Korea plans to expand tariff-free pork imports to ease a supply shortage caused by outbreaks of foot-andmouth disease and to ease inflation, Vice Finance Minister Yim Jong-yong said on Friday.

The South Korean government in late January said it might raise a quota for tariff-free pork imports from 60,000 tonnes as pork prices spiked to record levels in Asia’s fourth-largest economy.

Imports above that volume would be charged the current tariff of 25 per cent.

“Through expanding tariff-free quota for pork and powdered milk imports, the government will lift the market instability,” Yim said during a scheduled meeting of senior government officials to discuss inflation trends.

He did not elaborate.

The worst cases of foot-andmouth disease have forced South Korea to cull nearly a third of its hog population to stop the spread of the disease among livestock as it confirmed 146 cases in nine provinces in less than three months.

A South Korean industry body forecast the country’s pork imports would likely rise by 20 to 30 per cent this year, and it would take at least one or two years for the industry to recover.

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