S. Korea aims for $7.7 bln in exports

South Korea aims to export US$7.7 billion worth of agricultural goods this year by expanding presence in China, Southeast Asia and the Muslim Halal food market, the government said Wednesday.

The goal represents more than a 24.4 percent increase compared to $6.19 billion worth of farm goods shipped out in 2014, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said.

Last year's farm exports grew by 8.1 percent on-year, far outpacing the country's overall export growth of 2.4 percent, according to ministry figures.

Lee said that for the new year, the goal is to focus on large promising markets, such as China, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Muslim countries.

For China, he said the top priority is to get South Korean farm and processed food products into department stores and online shopping malls.

He said the free trade agreement reached with China last year would help the efforts.

On ASEAN and the rapidly growing Halal market, the ministry said they offered good growth potential.

The Halal market stood at $1.08 trillion in 2012 and is expected to grow to $1.62 trillion in 2018, or 17.4 percent of the global farm and food market in the cited year.

Halal food is prepared according to religious rules for Muslims, but 80 percent of the food comes from non-Muslim countries and companies such as Nestle SA, the ministry said.

Indonesia, Malaysia and the Middle East were also cited as attractive markets.

The ministry said efforts were also in progress to ship locally produced pears to overseas markets, such as Argentina and Brazil, and to sell kimchi in China.

Source: yonhapnews.co.kr

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