Agriculture minister asks companies to grow exports

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Agriculture minister asks companies to grow exports

Lee Dong-pil, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, held his first meeting with 16 CEOs of food companies yesterday to discuss measures to boost exports of agricultural and food products.

The heads of Lotte Confectionery, CJ CheilJedang, Nongshim and other companies were in attendance.

“Even though the Chinese food market is expected to grow by 10 percent each year, the share of Korean products is still small,” said Lee. “Our targets are top earners in China, actively promoting the safety and quality of Korean food products.”

The total Asian food market is worth $1.5 trillion and growing about 5 percent annually, the ministry said.

Korea’s food exports reached a new high of $8 billion last year, $910 million of which was to China.

The minister asked for aggressive investments to ramp up exports.

For the first six months of the year, food exports grew 2.6 percent to $2.7 billion compared to the same period last year, the ministry said.

Exports of fresh produce, including fruits and mushrooms, rose to $560 million, while those of processed food climbed to $2.2 billion.

Fresh food exports increased owing to higher demand from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Russia.

Kimchi and Makgeoli exports fell due in part to the weakened Japanese yen, the ministry said.

The minister pledged to help ease difficulties food companies are experiencing by establishing a food exports network with Korean embassies abroad.

BY song su-hyun [ssh@joongang.co.kr]

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