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US-China trade dispute could provide opportunity for Korean farmers: institute

The ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China is adding uncertainties to the global agriculture market, but it could create a favorable business environment for South Korean farmers, a state-run think tank said Wednesday.

The Korea Rural Economic Institute said the tit-for-tat tariff conflict between Washington and Beijing could affect price competitiveness and overall conditions in the agro-food markets of the two countries, which could open up more opportunities for products from other nations, including South Korea. 


"A prolonged trade war between the US and China could reshape the landscape of the global agriculture market," KREI said in a report. "South Korea's agro-food exports could have competitive edge over Chinese agro-food products in the US market."

As China has levied tariffs on soybeans, pork, millet and cotton imported from the US, American farmers will have to find alternative markets to sell their goods, which could lower their prices in the Korean market, the institute noted.

The Donald Trump administration escalated the trade tussle with China by imposing 10-percent tariffs on a wide range of Chinese goods, which will jump to 25 percent next year.

In response, Beijing started imposing duties of between 5 percent and 10 percent on US products, including soybeans, corn, wheat, pork, dairy products, cocoa powder and frozen vegetables.

Nearly $20 billion in US agricultural exports went to China last year, with more than half of that amount coming from soybeans.

The US sold approximately 33 million tons of soybeans in 2017 to China, or just over a third of the beans imported by the Asian country, according to official data. (Yonhap)