The trade ministry said Sunday that it is seeking ways to remove non-tariff barriers set by its main trade partners on concerns they may sap Seoul's overseas shipments.
China topped the list with 35 cases of non-tariff barriers, followed by the U.S. with 31 and Japan with 31, according to the trade ministry and the Korea International Trade Association. The number of the European Union's non-tariff barriers reached 29, trailed by Indonesia with 22 cases and Vietnam with 19.
Countries around the world are forging bilateral and multilateral free trade deals, but they are also building up non-tariff barriers in a bid to prevent an excessive influx of foreign goods and services from hurting their industries.
In the latest success for Seoul, the U.S. agreed to allow Korea's "samgyetang" to be imported to its markets in the first half of 2014, 10 years after the Seoul government requested the U.S. to do so, according to the trade ministry.
The disallowance of samgyetang imports had been cited as one of the main examples of a non-trade barrier for Korea. Samgyetang is a soup with a young chicken stuffed with ginseng, sticky rice and garlic.
The trade ministry said it is discussing measures to deal with the non-tariff barriers set by its main trading partners.
"We are focusing on analyzing whether such non-tariff barriers match international standards and finding solutions before those hurdles are institutionalized by law," said a government official. (Yonhap)