South Korea kimchi deficit hits all-time high

Vastavam web: South Korea’s trade deficit in kimchi, its proud traditional side dish of fermented cabbage, reached an all-time high last year as low-priced Chinese imports flooded the market, statistics showed today.The spicy foodstuff is emblematic of Korean cuisine and accompanies almost every meal served in the country, whatever its culinary origins, with kimchi-making still an important annual ritual for many families.South Korea imported more than 275,000 tonnes of kimchi last year, 99 percent of it from China, the Korea Customs Service (KCS) said, and exported just over 24,000 tonnes.

The deficit stood at 47.3 million by value, up 11 percent year-on-year and the largest since the KCS began tracking the data in 2000.According to South Korea’s World Institute of Kimchi, 89.9 per cent of the kimchi purchased by South Korean restaurants in 2016 was imported from China.The kimchi trade first went into deficit in 2006, triggering soul-searching and a headline-grabbing scandal.Kimchi-making “reaffirms Korean identity and is an excellent opportunity for strengthening family cooperation”, it added, and a reminder that human communities need to live in harmony with nature.