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Lowered Tariffs to be Imposed on More Pork Imports

by 5m Editor
12 July 2011, at 10:21am

SOUTH KOREA - South Korea will expand the amount of imported pork subject to lower tariffs as part of efforts to stabilize food prices and ease inflationary pressure, the nation's top economic policymaker said last week.

"We will significantly expand the amount of pork imports subject to lower tariff rates, while at the same time encouraging (pork) producers and distributors to voluntarily cooperate in stabilizing prices," Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan told an anti-inflation policy meeting.

He added that the government will sell its reserve and imported rice to local consumers at cheaper prices to induce price stability of the staple grain.

According to Balita, the move comes as South Korea's inflation has remained high for a prolonged period of time, spawning concerns that price instability could hurt the ongoing economic recovery.

The nation's consumer prices jumped 4.4 per cent last month from a year earlier, marking the sixth straight month that the figures exceeded the government's annual inflation target of four percent.

To help consumers cope better with price hikes on their own, Mr Bahk said the government will establish a comprehensive online price information system by linking 80 scattered price comparison sites in cyberspace.

He reaffirmed that the government will focus on "market-friendly" price stability measures.

In a related move, he promised to provide diverse benefits for what he calls "good stores" deemed to be helping the ongoing efforts to stabilize prices of consumer products and services.

"We will designate what we tentatively call 'good stores' and provide the 'role-model marks' to them so that they can enjoy such benefits as lowered tap water bills or being listed in a smartphone application as good stores to help consumers make better choices," Mr Bahk said.