South Korea plans to remove import duties on eggs amid supply shortage

South Korea has decided to temporarily remove tariffs on imported egg products such as fresh table eggs and processed egg products in an effort to ease a supply shortage caused by the outbreaks of the bird flu.

Egg
©SEO-LAN

The Korean government has decided to temporarily impose zero import duties on 50,000 tons of egg products from 27 January until 30 June. The measure is applied to 8 egg products including fresh table eggs (14,500 ton) and processed egg products (35,500 ton): smoked eggs, egg yolk powder, frozen egg yolk, dried whole eggs, frozen whole eggs, white egg powder and frozen white eggs. Originally, duties of 8-30 percent were levied on imported egg products.

The measure was taken as South Korea seeks to resolve a supply shortage of eggs amid the spread of the highly contagious H5N8 strain of avian influenza. Since November 2020, the outbreak of the bird flu has ravaged poultry farms across the nation. As of 2 February 2021, South Korea confirmed 83 cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, and APQA, the Korean veterinary authority, has destroyed 24.8 million head of poultry to prevent the spread of the disease, which led to a sharp increase in the consumer price of related goods.

The average price of fresh eggs soared 38.8 percent on-year over the past week, with those of chicken and duck meat also rising 15.7 percent and 35.4 percent, respectively.

Some fresh table eggs were already imported from the US at the end of January. They are sold in the retail market at KRW 4,450 (EUR 3.3) / 30 eggs, 23% cheaper than local prices.

Currently, the Netherlands cannot export fresh table eggs into Korea due to the ban imposed on Dutch poultry and egg products. This is a measure against the bird flu in the Netherlands effective since October 2020. However, Heat-treated egg products such as whole egg liquid, egg white liquid, liquid yolk, whole egg powder, egg white powder and egg yolk powder can continue to be imported into South Korea. Among these egg products, egg yolk powder and egg white powder are exempted from import duties under this measure.

The Korean government will decide whether to extend the tariff removal measure, depending on the supply and demand situation.

Source: Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs