South Korea’s imports of dairy products have risen at an annual average rate of 14.9 percent over the last three years, fueled by local demand, government data showed Friday.
According to the data by the Korea Customs Service, imports of such products as cheese, powdered milk, cream and butter totaled slightly over $1.82 billion in the 2012-2014 period.
Imports stood at $534 million in 2012 before rising to $584 million in the following year and reaching $704 million in 2014.
“Steady demand for dairy products was the key reason for the general increase, along with more people buying products online directly from overseas,” a KCS official said.
Inbound shipments of cheese jumped 17.6 percent annually over the three-year period, with imports of powdered milk advancing 18.9 percent. Imports of milk and cream along with butter were down 11.5 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively.
As of last year, cheese accounted for 70.6 percent of all dairy product imports totaling $500 million with powdered milk making up 21.6 percent, or $150 million.
By country of origin, the United States was the top exporter with a 48.9 percent market share, with New Zealand, Germany, France and Australia making up the top five. South Korea imported dairy products from 55 countries last year, up from 51 in 2012.
U.S. dairy imports rose 120.6 percent in the 2012-2014 period, accounting for 60.6 percent of all cheese brought into the country last year.
Germany ranked top in powdered milk with France and New Zealand accounting for the bulk of milk and cream, and butter, according to the data. (Yonhap)