South Korea

Supply/Demand Basics

  • Coarse grains demand of 12 MMT/ year.
  • #4 import market of U.S. corn in MY 2018/2019.
  • #3 import market of U.S. DDGS in MY 2018/2019.
  • #5 import market of U.S. ethanol in MY 2018/2019.
  • Very limited barley and sorghum imports despite KORUS FTA.
  • Livestock industry and compound feed market growing slowly.

Country Overview

  • Population / growth: 51.8 million / 0.02%
  • Urban % / growth: 81.5% / 0.3%
  • GDP / growth: $2 trillion / 2.9%
  • GDP per capita: $33,346
  • Asia’s 4th and world’s 10th largest economy.
  • Since there is no progress on denuclearization of North Korea, economic cooperation between the two Koreas has not resumed.
  • Facing sluggish domestic demand, increased household debt, low youth unemployment, falling birth rates and aging population.

Trade and Market Share Overview

  • Sophisticated price buyer; U.S. share is very volatile.  Corn quality (higher BCFM) has been a chronic issue.
  • U.S. DDGS imports 6th consecutive new record.
  • U.S. barley imports have been limited due to lack of price competitiveness.
  • Industrial ethanol consumption, an eco-friendly raw material, is increasing.

Policy Overview

  • Only 3% biodiesel RFS has been introduced and no bioethanol RFS.
  • Improvement of air pollution is a priority, but the government is focusing on the regulation of diesel vehicles.
  • Implemented new MRLs (PLS) for grains for food since Jan. 1, 2019
  • The government’s regulatory direction for New Breeding Technology has not yet been determined.
  • GMO has become political issue: NGOs’ request to strengthen GMO labeling regulation.