On May 17th, South Korean Customs said that local kimchi had a trade deficit of US$84 million, however China which has been producing 200,000 tons annually, equal to $104.3 million, is gradually overtaking South Korea’s Kimchi market, reports Seoul-based Yonghap News Agency.
The report said the South Korea’s kimchi imports were way higher than kimchi exports and putting Seoul at a trade deficit.
South Korean kimchi is less competitive than Chinese kimchi in its own market, as it is viewed as more economical. For example, Chinese kimchi is one third the price of it’s South Korean counterpart.
Chinese kimchi is being used at 99% of Korean express train station food courts and a majority of schools, hospitals, and company restaurants in South Korea, replacing locally produced goods. Kimchi is rarely exported to the Chinese market due to differences in health regulations.
Also, Japan, a major export market for South Koean kimchi, is gradually decreasing imports because the yen is depreciating. Officials from South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said they are negotiating with Japan to eliminate the non-trade barrier on Korean kimchi.