Koreans to Get EU Pork Belly Strips Cheaply

SOUTH KOREA - Businesses are anticipating the future, as South Korea signed a tentative free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU) on Tuesday.
calendar icon 27 March 2009
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Korea and the EU began trade talks in May 2007, with differences over industrial tariffs and auto trade regulations initially standing in the way. The two parties, however, made progress on those and other conflicting issues since the seventh round of negotiations in May last year.

The Korea Times reports that industry watchers say farm products will have the largest influx once the deal takes effects, especially frozen pork including belly strips, or samgyeopsal, and chuck rolls, which are in high demand here.

Prices of frozen EU belly strips cost about 86.6 percent of what they do in Korea, according to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and they could further go down to 72.1 per cent.

The FTA, once finalized, will boost South Korea's exports by $11 billion and gross domestic product by 3.1 per cent, the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy forecast.

Some critics, however, raise questions over the actual effects of the FTA.

Local farmers are subject to a serious blow with the abolition of the current 25 per cent tariff on imported pork and other European farm products are expected to dominate shop shelves here as apples and chicken, for example, are up to 50 per cent cheaper than home-grown ones.

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