SEOUL, May 18 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea has suffered a growing deficit in the trade of kimchi, the traditional Korean side dish, in the past few years due to the influx of Chinese products, data showed Sunday.
The deficit stood at US$84.09 million over the past five years in April, according to the statistics by the Korea Customs Service.
South Korea imported 212,938 tons of kimchi worth $104.3 million last year while exporting 24,742 tons valued at $84 million. About 99 percent of the imported kimchi came from China.
Industry sources attribute to deficit to the soaring imports of chief Chinese kimchi, the price of which is about one-third that of Korean kimchi.
The falling Japanese yen also contributed to the fall in the Korean kimchi exports as Japan has been the biggest destination for South Korean kimchi.
They say more than 95 percent of Korean restaurants, schools, hospitals and schools use Chinese kimchi.
South Korean kimchi is virtually banned in the Chinese market due to Chinese regulations requiring all vegetables to have fewer than 30 colon bacillus per 100 grams, which fermented kimchi cannot meet.
Kimchi is a salted, spicy fermented side dish made with pickled cabbage, cucumbers or radishes.
President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed in July last year that China will review the regulations to help South Korea export kimchi to China.