Officials consider scrapping tariffs on chicken

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Officials consider scrapping tariffs on chicken


A store in Mapo District, in western Seoul, sells raw chicken on Sunday. The retail price of raw chicken rose 4 percent compared to a month ago to 5,713 won per kilogram (2.25 per pound dollar) as of Friday. [YONHAP]

The government said it will consider eliminating tariffs on imported chicken temporarily as prices continue to rise due to the outbreak of avian influenza in the country.

Korea currently levies 18 percent to 22.6 percent tariffs on imported chicken meat, but plans to remove them as early as next month, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said Sunday. The government said it expects the price of 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of Brazilian raw chicken meat to drop from 1,750 won ($1.51) to 1,450 won.

“We will put 2,000 tons of chicken that we stored on the market starting next week and we will sell them at cheaper prices,” the ministry said in a press release.

“We will cooperate with private sectors to put another 10,500 tons that they have on the market as early as possible.”

Koreans consume 390 tons of chicken a day on average.

The government said it will also monitor closely whether retailers stock up heavily with chickens to prevent retail prices from continuing to rise. The government expects the demand for chicken to rise more as schools in the country are beginning their new semester this month.

The retail prices of chicken rose 4 percent from 5,475 won per kilogram on Feb. 10 to 5,713 won on Friday, according to Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation.

Prices of fried chicken are rising as well following a price hike in raw meat.

BBQ Chicken, Korea’s biggest chicken chain, run by Genesis BBQ, said last week that it will raise the price of chicken on its menus by 9 to 10 percent.

However, the government said chicken restaurants pay only about 10 percent of their menu prices to purchase the meat and that it believes their prices aren’t heavily affected by rising retail prices.


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