Korea’s wine imports have increased four-fold during the 10 years since its first FTA. Meanwhile, its whiskey imports have declined during the same period.
The Korea Customs Service analyzed Korea’s leading import items from its FTA partners and reported the result on April 16. According to the analysis, Chilean wine imports increased 380 percent to US$172 million between 2003 and 2013. By weight, the rate of increase was as high as 230 percent, and the total was 32,557 tons. In the meantime, the imports of whiskey fell by approximately 30 percent to US$185 million and 184.34 million tons. “The imports of whiskey were about 5.4 times greater than those of wine before the implementation of the FTA between Korea and Chile,” said the organization, adding, “However, both of the types were on par with each other last year.”
It is France from which Korea imports the largest amount of wine. Korea’s imports of French wine amounted to US$53 million in 2013 alone to account for 30.9 percent of total wine imports. Those of Chilean wine have increased consistently thanks to the free trade deal, too. Chilean wine ranked just seventh by weight in 2003 before the FTA, but has been on top of the list since 2008. On a money basis, it took up 21.2 percent as of the end of last year, to be second only to French wine.
“The tariff elimination following the FTA has resulted in import source diversification,” the agency explained, continuing, “The tariffs on whiskey are scheduled to be lowered phase by phase, and the imports are expected to rise as well.” At present, 95 percent of the whiskey imported by Korea is British. American whiskey and that of the EU are subject to no customs from January 2016 and July 2014, respectively.