N. Korean 'songi' mushrooms distributed as Chinese ones in S. Korea: report

By 임정요
  • Published : Oct 18, 2016 - 10:49
  • Updated : Oct 18, 2016 - 10:53

Some North Korean "songi" mushrooms disguised as Chinese-grown have been distributed in South Korea, a media report said Tuesday.

Citing an informed source, US-based media Radio Free Asia reported the top-notch mushrooms selling at a price of $200 per 1 kilogram in China fetched $350 at an unspecified South Korean department store and their prices topped $700 during this year's Chuseok fall harvest holiday.

Songi mushrooms are a delicacy consumed by Koreans and Japanese in the autumn season. In Japan, they are known as "matsutake" mushrooms.

"Songi" mushrooms. (Yonhap)

Japanese distributors of farm products are altering the specification of place of origin to China from North Korea due to Japan's imposition of economic sanctions on the North, according to the RFA.

"Since the Japanese government suspended songi imports from North Korea three years ago, Japanese importers have demanded North Korean traders lower import prices for the mushrooms so that the costs for double taxation involving the disguise of North Korean songi as Chinese-produced ones," the source was quoted as saying.

Japanese importers have had North Korean traders bear the losses stemming from the two-time addition of import tariffs on North Korean songi being transfered to China and being sent to Japan from China.

The North's major producers of songi mushrooms include Hoeryong, Chongjin and Mount Chilbo in North Hamgyong Province and Sinpo in South Hamgyong Province. (Yonhap)