UK and US officials highlight the potential of pet food in South Korea
The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has been working with South Korean authorities to secure market access for British pet food manufacturers in the local Asian market.
Both countries believe the market offers exciting business opportunities for pet firms.
This was in response to a request from South Korean authorities for a new Export Health Certificate (EHC), an official document confirming that exports meet the health requirements of the destination country.
Both parties, including existing exporters of pet food to South Korea, engaged in technical discussions to confirm compliance with the new requirements.
The UK's interest in South Korea's pet industry is not new. In 2019, the country's Department for International Trade highlighted South Korea's pet industry as 'one of the fastest growing pet food markets in the world.'
The Asian country is the 13th-biggest economy in the world, and its import demand is set to grow rapidly. According to the Department for Business and Trade, the UK's total trade (imports plus exports) with South Korea was £16.1 billion ($20.1B/€18.6B) in the 12 months ending June 2023.
Regional and technical expertise
The British government acknowledges the 'key role' that attachés play in breaking down market access barriers and reducing the complexity and burden of trading requirements for agri-food products.
"Bringing together regional and technical experts who can provide valuable market intelligence means we can resolve market access issues and drive growth at a faster pace", it says.
They have brought together regional and technical experts to resolve market access issues to aid the process.
Earlier in 2023, the Korean government announced a plan to expand the country's pet industry to ₩15 trillion ($11.4B/€10.3B) in 3 years' time.
Opportunities for US companies
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently included pet food as a business opportunity for agricultural products in the Asian country.
The International Agricultural Trade Report published in December 2023 acknowledges that South Korea's global pet food imports rose from $239 million (€220.6M) in 2018 to $347 million (€320.3M) in 2022.
According to these insights, the US is the country's second biggest pet food supplier, accounting for 21% of all imports in 2022.
Despite inflation pushing the price of pet food up between 10% and 20%, the US government considers that the unfavorable US dollar/Korean won exchange rate has led South Korean traders to search for "more affordable alternative suppliers to meet import demand."
Dog and cat food originally had a 5% tariff rate, but now these products enter the country duty-free due to the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) signed in 2017.