Retailers to prioritize processed foods after FTA

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Retailers to prioritize processed foods after FTA

Korean retailers plan to import more food products once the FTA with the United States goes into effect this month, a poll by a private economic organization showed yesterday.

According to a survey by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on 250 local retailers, 29.1 percent of the respondents said they are interested in importing more processed foods, followed by 27.9 percent that wanted to bring in various fresh farm produce.

“Many companies are eyeing cheese, pork, oranges and other food products as items they can import because they are cheaper than those produced in the country,” the KCCI said.

It added that 54 percent of the companies said they expect the free trade agreement will lower import prices, compared to 31.2 percent that expected no change.

The free trade accord, known as the Korus FTA, was signed in 2007 and will go into effect on March 15. It will lower tariffs across the board for most products that can fuel two-way trade between Korea and the United States. Bilateral trade topped $100.7 billion in 2011, up from $90.2 billion in the previous year.

The report showed that 18.6 percent of domestic retailers hope to import more miscellaneous products like cosmetics and medicine. Yonhap

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