Aubergine

Huh? Korea imports more kimchi than they make

October 27, 2014

Korean kimchi industry is on shaky ground as imports from China eclipse local production

kimchi

A whopping 95 percent of expressway rest stations use kimchi imported from China, as do 90 percent of regular restaurants, a Kimchi Association report said. (Korea Times file)

The Korean kimchi industry is on shaky ground as kimchi imports from China — 200,000 tons per year — eclipse local production, Yonhap reported.

Korean Assemblyman Kim Young-rok said Monday that the kimchi industry is suffering from an accumulated deficit for the fifth year in a row, according to a file compiled with reports from Korea Customs Service, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, National Agricultual Products Quality Management Service and the Kimchi Association.

Kim said Chinese kimchi is sold both online and used in restaurants, hospitals, schools and businesses in Korea.

A whopping 95 percent of expressway rest stations use kimchi imported from China, as do 90 percent of regular restaurants, a Kimchi Association report said.

The regular circulation of Chinese kimchi damages local manufacturers and cabbage farmers, Kim said.

Chinese kimchi imports to Korea jumped after the simplification of processing imported goods by the Korea Customs Service. The change increased passage of goods through only document checks and decreased actual goods checkups by half.

Although there were nine cases of kimchi imports not passing the test in 2011, they decreased to one each year in 2013 and 2014. Kim credited this not to an increase in kimchi quality but to the reduction of checkups.

“We have to regard the kimchi industry as important as the car and technology industries,” Kim said. “Especially as it concerns damage to cabbage farmers and other agricultural workers.”

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