SEOL: South Korea imported more than US$25 billion (27 trillion won) worth of food last year, up 7 percent from a year earlier. The biggest shipment in monetary terms coming from the United States and in quantity terms from China. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced on January 16 that the nation’s food imports in terms of amount stood at US$25.09 billion (26.69 trillion won), weight at 18,293,759 tons and case at 672,268 last year. The figures in quantity and case terms increased 6 percent 7.5 percent, respectively, compared to a year ago.
Imported foods are categorized in seven groups processed food, health functional food, utensil and container packaging, agricultural and forest product, fishery product, food additive and livestock product. The U.S. had the highest amount of inbound shipments with US$5.43 billion (5.78 trillion won), followed by China with US$4.2 billion (4.47 trillion won), Australia with US$2.57 billion (2.74 trillion won), Vietnam with US$1.19 billion (1.26 trillion won) and Russia with US$941.7 million (1 trillion won). By item, the imports of beef and pork mainly came from the U.S. stainless and polypropylene utensils and rice from China, beef and food ingredients to be refined and processed, such as raw sugar and rough spiritus, from Australia, frozen shrimp and frozen small octopus from Vietnam and frozen pollack and corn from Russia. The U.S. also had the highest volume of imports with 4.14 million tons, followed by Australia with 3.5 million tons, China with 2.94 million tons, Russia with 1.24 million tons and Brazil with 0.9 tons. China had the highest number of cases with 175,891, trailed by the U.S. with 92,563, Japan with 46,653, France with 28,394 and Thailand with 28,315.