Korea’s total beef/beef variety meat imports were up 9 percent in value in 2013, $1.54 billion, on a slightly higher volume (300,636 mt, +0.6 percent). Imports from the United States increased 11 percent in value to $578 million, despite volume slipping by 4 percent at 101,414 mt. Imports from Australia increased in both volume (165,597 mt, +6 percent) and value ($836 million, +11 percent) over 2012.
Korea’s chilled beef imports were up slightly, as growth from the United States (8,777 mt, +11 percent) offset a decline from Australia (31,494 mt, -3 percent).
Korea’s chilled pork imports were down 43 percent to 11,800 mt, including significant declines from both the U.S. (6,098 mt, -27 percent) and Canada (2,276 mt, -70 percent). As the only major pork supplier without a free trade agreement, Canada continues to lose market share in Korea.
USMEF expects a decrease in Korea’s domestic pork production in 2014, with a modest recovery in pork imports. Through the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement duties on several products were eliminated this year. Duties on U.S. frozen boneless pork, including commonly traded picnics and butts, were reduced to 8 percent (Canada pays 25 percent). Duties on U.S. sausages are now at 7.2 percent (Canada pays 18 percent). The duty rate on U.S. chilled pork was reduced to 15.75 percent for imports up to 9,270 mt. For volumes beyond 9,270 mt, the duty will be 22.5 percent (the same rate that Canada pays).
Korea’s duties on all Chilean pork were eliminated this year – the 10th anniversary of the Chile-Korea FTA. Duties for the EU’s main item, frozen pork bellies, are currently 18 percent but will drop to 15.9 percent in July.