Korea offers opportunities for PHL's food and beverage products
by Danielle Venz
Cagayan de Oro City (4 December) -- Food and beverage exporters may consider penetrating the huge Korean market now with over 48 million consumer base.
Atty. Ann Claire Cabochan, director of the Department of Trade and Industry's Bureau of International Trade Relations, attributed the increasing demand for processed food and beverages to Korean consumers' changes in lifestyle and dietary culture.
"The organic market is a segment that has been developing rapidly given the increase in demand for health foods. Fruit-based products are gaining popularity; imported processed foods have great potential," she said.
Cabochan said Korean consumers also opt for marine products, fresh and processed fruits, frozen vegetables, sauce preparations, confectionary and alcoholic beverages.
She stressed that Korea imports 70 percent of its agricultural needs.
With this, Cabochan said local businesses should take advantage of exporting these products to that market especially with the implementation of the ASEAN-Korea free trade agreement (AKFTA).
As a result of the AKFTA, already more than 90 percent of normal track products traded between ASEAN, which includes the Philippines, and Korea enjoy zero duties.
Cabochan particularly cited Philippine top exports enjoying duty-free treatment to Korea, including resource and agro-based products, chemicals, metals and machinery.
Without the FTA between ASEAN and Korea, these products are subject to Most Favored Nation (MFN) rates ranging from two to 40 percent.
For his part, Kim Myoung Joon, economic counselor of Embassy of the Republic of Korea, underscored the difficulties in the utilization of AKFTA.
These include, among others, the lack of information on details of agreements and implementation; absence of understanding on the entry into force, preferential rate, rule of origin and issuing certificate of origin; the lack of information on customs law of trading country; and customs procedures problems, he said.
To improve the utilization rate, Joon listed and proposed several measures to address during the recently held ASEAN Economic Ministers-Korea consultations.
Joon said ASEAN countries and Korea suggested the need to implement expeditiously the Minor Procedural Improvement, introduce a system of self-certification of origin, and promote economic cooperation program to develop the ASEAN customs administration. (PHILEXPORT) [top]