The U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Alexis Taylor, will lead the agribusiness trade mission to Seoul, South Korea on March 25 - 28, 2024. USDA is currently inviting U.S. exporters who wish to participate in this trade mission to submit their application.
“North Asian markets are a source of stability for U.S. exports and an opportunity for market share expansion due to its heavy reliance on food imports and underlying macroeconomic growth,” said Taylor. “While the Republic of Korea is already one of our top export markets, we see tremendous potential for growth as the demand for health and fitness, ready-to-eat, and convenience products is growing, providing a great opportunity for U.S. exporters to expand their sales in the region.”
The trade mission will offer U.S. agribusinesses the potential to increase or expand their food and agricultural exports to the region. While in Seoul, participants will engage in two days of business-to-business meetings with potential importers, processors and distributors. Additionally, attendees will receive in-depth market briefings from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and industry trade experts to better understand market dynamics and consumer trends, as well as participate in site visits and other networking opportunities.
With a population of roughly 52 million people and limited arable land, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) relies on imports to satisfy consumer demand for food variety, lower prices and greater convenience. In 2022, South Korea imported approximately $41.1 billion worth of agricultural goods, and the United States was the leading supplier with $10.4 billion in agricultural exports. The United States is South Korea's top overall supplier and its leading source for an array of farm products, including beef, almonds, fresh cherries, fresh oranges, hides and skins, soybeans, dried distillers grains (DDGS), ethanol and wheat. The United States and the Republic of Korea implemented the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) in 2012.
As a result of the pandemic, as well as demographic and economic trends in South Korea, the market has seen a boom in e-commerce. In addition to traditional hypermarkets and retail markets, e-commerce platforms can be important to increasing sales in Korea. The market has been trending to higher demands for products of convenience, such as ready-to-eat foods, home meal kits and smaller portion-size packages. There has also been an emphasis on health and fitness products due to general healthy lifestyle changes as well as an aging population.