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Gov't to place emergency controls on urea water solution amid supply shortage

National 15:59 November 09, 2021

SEOUL, Nov. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to place emergency controls on production and provision of urea water solution (UWS), the prime minister's office said Tuesday, in a move to ease the supply crunch of the material used to reduce emissions in diesel vehicles.

A government notice that allows public authorities to command urea water solution makers' production, shipment and sales is expected to be approved at the Cabinet's extraordinary meeting on Thursday and come into force no later than this week.

South Korea has been grappling with a shortage of urea water solution, known as diesel exhaust fluid, and its surging prices in recent weeks, as China tightened exports of fertilizers and related materials, including urea, in October amid a power crisis caused by a coal supply shortage. Coal is the main feedstock for urea.

South Korea heavily relies on China for its supply of urea water solution, as 97.6 percent of its imports came from China in the first nine months of this year.

The government earlier said it is in talks with about 10 countries, including Vietnam, to import 10,000 tons of urea to help ease the supply shortage.

The country plans to import 200 tons of urea from Vietnam next week and bring in 27,000 liters of urea solution from Australia this week via military aircraft.

Authorities have also begun crackdowns on excessive hoarding and its illegal distribution to deter market manipulation attempts.

The government previously issued emergency controls on production and provision of certain goods last year when the country faced shortages of face masks following the outbreak of COVID-19.

Freight vehicles queue up to buy urea water solution at a gas station in Ulsan, 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on Nov. 9, 2021, amid shortage of the fluid used to reduce emissions in diesel vehicles. (Yonhap)


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