SEOL: South Korea’s trade deficit for kimchi, or spicy pickled vegetables, hit a record high of over 47 million dollars last year. The Korea Customs Service says the country imported more than 275,000 tons of kimchi while exporting about 24,000 tons. The trade deficit in the traditional side dish was up 11 percent from the previous year and is the highest since data-taking began in 2000. The deficit has been in place since 2006.
The Customs Service attributes the increase to imports of cheaper Chinese products. These account for 99 percent of kimchi imports.
Surveys show Chinese kimchi is served at many restaurants in South Korea, as they can buy it for less than 15 percent of the cost of the domestic product.