South Korea is dropping tariffs on imported pork to make up for the devastation caused by the country's latest outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
According to the Xinhua News Agency, the country's Ministry of Strategy and Finance reported that the tariff will be dropped to zero percent – until a quota of 60,000 tons is met -- until the end of June. Currently the tariff is 25 percent for pork used for processed meat products.
South Korea's decision to lower the tariff on pork follows a desperate attempt to stop the spread of the devastating foot-and-mouth disease. According to ABC Rural, the country-wide culling of 2.3 million animals – or nearly 20 percent of the country's hogs and cattle herds - has severely affected the country’s pork and beef industries.
According to Bloomberg, South Korean pork imports are expected to skyrocket. Experts predict that pork imports may jump 15 to 20 percent in 2011. South Korea imported roughly 180,000 metric tons of pork in 2010.
Meanwhile, members of the U.S. Congress have been urged by an ad hoc coalition of agricultural and food organizations and companies to approve and pass the South Korea –U.S. (KORUS) Free Trade Agreement. The NPPC reports that once the agreement is approved and implemented, 60 percent of the current import barriers will be removed immediately and save nearly $3 billion in U.S. food and agricultural products.