S. Korea resumes kimchi exports to China

August 26, 2016

SEJONG, Aug. 26 (Yonhap) — South Korea has resumed exporting its traditional side dish kimchi to China after a hiatus of nearly six years as the Beijing government eased its regulations on the pickled food, the agriculture ministry here said Friday.

Four local kimchi companies held a ceremony in Wonju, southeast of Seoul, on Wednesday to celebrate the resumption of kimchi exports, following business deals with their Chinese buyers, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The first batch of kimchi, 7 tons in total, arrived in a Chinese port on Friday and will hit Chinese shelves later this month, the ministry added.

South Korea’s kimchi exports had been blocked for nearly six years since China strengthened its inspection standards for pickled foods around 2010.

The guidelines required all fermented foods to restrict the level of coliform bacteria in them, virtually working as a trade barrier to kimchi imports from South Korea.

Due to the sanitary restriction, only boiled kimchi could have been shipped to China, with the total value standing at US$16,000 in 2014 and $101,000 in 2015, while $84 million and $73 million worth of South Korean kimchi were sold overseas in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Following the Seoul-Beijing summit meeting in October last year, however, China eased its quarantine rules and opened its doors to South Korean kimchi.

The agriculture ministry expected some 100 tons of kimchi, worth 450 million won ($404,000), to be exported to China by the end of the year and 500 tons in 2017.



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