Farmers Protest Measure to Import Tariff-free Pork

by 5m Editor
29 March 2012, at 7:43am

KOREA - Local pig farmers are protesting in front of the National Assembly against a government measure to import 70-thousand tons of pork belly into Korea tariff-free, in the second quarter.

According to Arirang News, the Korea Swine Association in response says, it will stop shipping pork for an indefinite period of time starting Monday, unless the government reverses its decision.

The association says that pig farmers have already been struggling to make ends meet, due to spiking livestock feed and oil prices.

"The pork price keeps going down, and the cost of production keeps increasing. Against this backrop,. when the 70-tons of trariff-free pork comes into the Korean market, local pig farmers will face tremendous difficulties, just to remain in business," said Peter Choi, Policy Coordinator of the Korea Swine Association in an interview.

In addition, with the Korea-US free trade agreement coming into effect, the tarrif rate for frozen pork belly has been lowered from 25 percent to 16 per cent, something that will lead to even more imports into the Korean market.

Despite the protests, 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.