Seoul reaches out to other countries for urea supplies

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Seoul reaches out to other countries for urea supplies

Korea sought international cooperation for its supplies of urea following a recent supply crunch, the industry ministry said.
Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo made the request during a "networking day" for official development assistance (ODA) that brought together ambassadors and charge d'affaires from 27 developing countries in Asia, South America, the Middle East and Africa, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
"During the meeting, Yeo explained Seoul's ongoing efforts to resolve the delay of urea imports and to find alternative supply channels, and asked Indonesia and other countries for cooperation," the ministry said.
The meeting came as South Korea ran short of diesel emissions fluid (DEF), essential to the operation of diesel vehicles to cut emissions, after China imposed export curbs on urea, its main ingredient.
Some 97.6 percent of Seoul's urea imports came from China in the first nine months of this year, according to government data.
Indonesia is the only urea-producing country among the 27 participating nations, but Korea held the event to garner support from a greater number of countries, a ministry official said.
Major countries with which the Seoul government has sought cooperation in terms of urea supply include Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Russia, Qatar and Mongolia.
During the meeting, the minister also vowed to boost cooperation and assistance with the countries in a mutually beneficial way with a focus on the digital sector and responses to climate change, the ministry noted.
This year, Korea earmarked 950.5 billion won for various ODA projects, and it sought a 17.3 percent hike in the budget for next year to help developing countries overcome the Covid-19 pandemic and to deepen exchanges with Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern and African nations, according to the foreign ministry. 
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