SEJONG, April 7 (Korea Bizwire) – Exports of dried and seasoned seaweed products have increased dramatically after they won the hearts of Chinese consumers.
According to the Korea Customs Service, exports of dried and seasoned seaweed peaked in 2015, and the $224.3 million in sales was a 10.8 percent increase compared to 2014.
Considering sales in 2011 were $116 million, exports almost doubled over the past five years (93 percent increase).
The U.S. was the largest buyer, with exports reaching $67.2 million last year. After the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Korea and the U.S. was implemented in 2012, the six percent tax on dried and seasoned seaweed was eliminated, and Korea topped Japan for exports the following year.
However, while exports to the U.S. stood still for the past three years, growth in China exploded. Exports to China rose to reach the size of exports to the U.S. after increasing 49 percent last year ($62.2 million).
The increase seems to be very sharp, as exports of dried and seasoned seaweed in 2011 totaled only $19.4 million. Given the terms of the FTA between Korea and China signed in 2015, the 15 percent tax on seaweed products will be abolished over the next 20 years. This year, a special 13.5 percent tax will be applied to the seaweed exported to China.
The Korean Customs Service expects that exports to China will outgrow exports to the U.S. at some point this year. Officials hope to keep discussing ways to lower custom tariffs to boost exports of other products as well.
By Lina Jang (email@example.com)