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Many U.S. eggs are left unsold in Korean market

Posted March. 01, 2017 07:05,   

Updated March. 01, 2017 07:12


American eggs that the government actively promoted along with rising egg prices on AI outbreak are left unsold. Many point out that the government has failed to predict the supply and demand of eggs and it gave reasons for the U.S. poultry exporters to demand to completely open the egg market.

According to the industry report on Tuesday, approximately 500,000 eggs imported from the U.S. are remained in warehouses and distributors are not decided yet. The shelf life of these products is expired on March 4. It also turned out that 670,000 eggs that the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation imported through trading companies were recently sold after having difficulty to dispose the quantity. The egg import started on Jan. 12 and the total number of eggs imported were 13.8 million at present.

The reason why American eggs are not sold is that the price of Korean eggs dropped recently and consumers are reluctant to buy American eggs, unlike expectation. According to Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation, an average price of a tray of eggs containing 30 eggs (extra-large egg with medium quality) soared at 9,096 won in January but the price declined by 13 percent to 7,932 won. Jeong, a 61-year-old housewife who bought American eggs, said, “I bought a tray of eggs imported from the U.S. in curiosity but left half of them as I thought they were not fresh.”

Companies that imported eggs complained the government disregard the problem and did not provide any measures to handle remaining eggs. “The government first encouraged importing eggs but now it is not doing enough to deal with the stock. We are the ones who suffer the most," said the companies. "Individual business should be responsible for egg sales, as it is not the matter that the government intervention is needed," the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs claimed.

The real issue here is that the U.S. livestock industry tries to put pressure on trade in earnest with the import of eggs this time. The USA Poultry and Egg Export Council was known to request Washington to pressure Seoul to lift the import tariffs on egg products from 27 percent to 14 percent. The council plans to hold a private PR event for farmers and chicken and other poultry businessmen in Korea in mid-March. They expect that Korean farmers and poultry businessmen are willing to buy many eggs, processed products, and layered chickens as 33.9 percent or 23.70 million layered chickens were recently slaughtered in Korea under the government policy.

Hye-Ryung Choi herstory@donga.com