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(LEAD) Cabinet OKs temporary removal of import duties on egg products

All Headlines 18:27 January 03, 2017

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in last para)

SEOUL, Jan. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Cabinet on Tuesday approved a regulation on removing import tariffs on egg products in the latest move to resolve a supply shortage sparked by the worst outbreak of bird flu in the nation, officials said.

The move will allow local companies to import 98,000 tons of shell eggs, powdered eggs and six other types of egg products without tariffs between Wednesday and June 30.

The government said it will later decide whether to extend the temporary lifting of tariffs by taking into account the supply and demand situations of eggs, the officials said.

Currently, South Korea imposes 8 to 30 percent tariffs on imported egg products.

South Korea has been in talks with the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Spain on importing egg products, though it remains unclear when the egg imports could begin.

The decision is part of South Korea's desperate efforts to overcome a short supply of eggs following a bird flu spread that has ravaged chicken farms across the country since November.

The planned imports of eggs are also meant to stabilize the prices of eggs that have risen sharply in recent weeks.

South Korean quarantine officials have so far slaughtered more than 30.3 million poultry, including 25.8 million chickens, a move that has reduced the country's daily egg output by about 30 percent, according to government data.

South Korea has more than 156 million chickens and more than 9.5 million ducks as of the end of March, according to government data.

In a bid to make up for the slaughter, the government is considering plans to import chicks for egg production. If the plans are approved, as many as 500,000 chicks will be imported into the country, according to the government.

(LEAD) Cabinet OKs temporary removal of import duties on egg products - 1

entropy@yna.co.kr
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