South Korea expects to see 18% year-over-year increase in food and agricultural product exports in 2014 to record US$6.75B amid growing demands in Europe and China

SEJONG, South Korea , February 7, 2014 () – South Korea's exports of food and agricultural products are expected to rise to a new annual high this year on growing demands in Europe and China, the government said Friday.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said the exports are expected to jump 18 percent on-year to a record high of US$6.75 billion this year, surpassing the $6 billion mark for the first time.

Last year, outbound shipment of farm products inched up 1.4 percent from a year earlier to $5.72 billion.

The expected growth takes into consideration greater projected exports to Europe and China, the ministry said.

"Shipments to Europe are expected to make a sharp turnaround to mark a significant growth this year on improving economic conditions, as well as the growing popularity of South Korean pop culture there," a ministry official said.

Exports to the European Union dropped 4.6 percent on-year to $297.7 million in 2013.

Shipments to China, already the world's second-largest importer of South Korean food products after Japan, are again expected to post a significant growth following a 4.6 percent on-year gain in 2013, ministry officials said.

In 2013, China purchased $947.8 million worth of food products from South Korea, accounting for 16.6 percent of the country's total farm exports.

The ministry said the proportion of shipments to China in the country's overall farm exports will further increase this year on exports of processed foodstuff such as powdered milk.

"Shipments of powdered milk have been and are rising rapidly as an increasing number of Chinese parents, who are willing to pay more for safe products, are choosing South Korean products," the ministry official said.

To help further expand exports to China, the ministry is working to identify new, competitive products specifically for the Chinese market.

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