[Photo by Lee Chung-woo]
South Korea will temporarily remove tariffs on corn imports until the end of the year and allow minimum 25 million additions in egg entries to tame food prices that have been fueling inflationary pressure.
The government plans to lift import duties on select grains including corn until the end of this year, said Hong Nam-ki, finance minister and deputy prime minister for economy, on Wednesday. The country granted tariff-free grain imports last in 2008-2014 amid instability in international food prices.
Although inflation will stay under the central bank-set mid-to long-term target of 2 percent, consumer prices will likely further strengthen in the second quarter and could harden households, Hong said.
The government plans to import more than 25 million eggs this month to help contain egg prices, which have surged due to the bird flu outbreak in the country. It will also let out government stock of 3,000 tons of napa cabbage.
Consumer prices in March grew 1.5 percent in the fastest pace in 14 months on sharp rise in fresh food and oil prices. Agriculture product prices soared 19.2 percent due to poor harvest amid unseasonable weather patterns, and livestock prices jumped 10.2 percent.
By Lee Ji-yong and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]