South Korea's National Assembly plans to import 70,000 metric tonnes of pork belly tariff-free in the second quarter, is meeting with protest and measures by local farmers.
The Korea Swine Association says it will stop shipping pork Monday, for an indefinite period, until the National Assembly reverses its decision. Pig farmers are all ready struggling with livestock feed and oil prices rising, the association says, and pork prices being driven down.
In light of the current situation South Korea’s pig farmers are in, they feel importing 70,000 tonnes tariff-free represents unfair completion on the South Korean market. In addition, the US-South Korea Free Trade Agreement is in effect, and one of its outcomes is that the tariff for frozen pork has been lowered from 26% to 15%, putting more pressure on local farmers.
The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries says it has no choice but to stick with its plan in order to prevent pork prices from skyrocketing.
They add that the number of pigs in the country has not yet recovered to levels seen prior to last year's outbreak of foot and mouth disease, which resulted in the culling of millions of pigs.
Analysts say they expect pork prices to shoot up, if the government and swine farmers fail to reach an agreement by the end of this weekend.
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