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S. Korea's food exports to China slide in March over THAAD row

All Headlines 10:40 April 04, 2017

SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's food exports to China fell 5.6 percent in March from a year earlier, dragged down by Beijing's apparent trade retaliation over the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system, government data showed Tuesday.

The outbound shipments of local agricultural, livestock and processed foods to its biggest trading partner stood at US$87.3 million in March, compared with $92.5 million in the previous year, according to the data by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The exports to China draw a contrast to the country's overall outbound sales of such products, which posted a 8.9 percent on-year growth, the data showed.

The cumulative exports to China in the January-March period also slowed to post a 7.4 percent on-year increase, whereas the figure for the first two months soared 16.5 percent from a year ago.

Industry sources cited a boycott in China on Korean products as a main reason for the decline in the March exports. Beijing has accelerated moves against Seoul in a reprisal for its decision to install the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery on its soil.

China has suspended operations at the majority of retail outlets there run by South Korean conglomerate Lotte. It also imposed a ban on trip sales to Korea from mid-March, while putting delays in customs for some Korean cosmetics and food products.

Such a string of hostile measures has sent jitters to local exporters, as they heavily depend on Chinese demand that accounts for the bulk of their overseas sales.

"The industry is bearing the brunt of the trade restrictions since the supply to Lotte Mart stores in China has effectively been halted," an industry source said.

The Seoul government has vowed to extend support to the ailing companies exposed to China's boycott by providing financial aid and diversifying selling routes to other markets.

S. Korea's food exports to China slide in March over THAAD row - 1

elly@yna.co.kr
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