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Korean Consumers Paying Higher Prices for Same Products
Unfair Treatment
Korean Consumers Paying Higher Prices for Same Products
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • January 13, 2015, 07:25
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It has been found that Starbucks coffee, Chilean wine, soda water, beef, and imported fruit are sold at the highest prices in the world in Seoul.

Consumers Korea conducted surveys in June and October last year to compare the prices of 42 agricultural, livestock, and processed food products in 13 major cities around the world, and released the result on Jan. 12. According to their work, 35 products were available at the highest to the fifth-highest prices in Seoul.

One of the examples is the tall size (355 ml) Starbucks Americano coffee. It was available at 4,100 won (US$3.76) in Seoul, while the prices were 4,023 won (US$3.69) in Paris, 3,679 won (US$3.37) in Beijing, 3,633 won (US$3.33) in Tokyo, and 3,614 won (US$3.31) in Amsterdam. The price used in the stores in Seoul increased 24 percent between 2007 and last year. New York had the lowest price at 2,477 won (US$2.27).

Seoul was also the site of the highest price for Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon wine from Chile, too. It was sold at 43,000 won (US$39.43) per bottle in department stores in Seoul, whereas the price was 39,410 won (US$36.13) in Taipei, 27,507 won (US$25.22) in Beijing, 23,525 won (US$21.57) in Tokyo, and 22,258 won (US$20.41) in Sydney. Both Korean beef sirloin and pork belly showed the highest prices in Seoul, which ranked third when it came to the imported beef sirloin price.

In addition, Seoul ranked first in imported green grape prices; second in pineapple, grapefruit and lemons; third in oranges, mangoes, and bananas; and fourth in cherries and kiwi. The price of cherries imported from the United States dropped 19 percent last year in the wake of the implementation of the KORUS FTA in 2012, but the retail price went up by 42.4 percent as the product went through multiple distribution steps. “Against previous expectations, domestic consumers have benefited little from the free trade deal when it comes to imported fruit prices,” the consumer organization explained.

The 13 cities surveyed were Seoul, New York, Beijing, Tokyo, Berlin, Paris, London, Milan, Toronto, Sydney, Madrid, Amsterdam, and Taipei.