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“We will offer trustworthy and speedy export meetings.”

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Park Chong-seo,
Executive Vice President for Trade Promotion of aT

“We will offer trustworthy and speedy export meetings.”

Exports of Korean agri-products are rising dramatically and more and more consumers around the world purchase them. Could you explain why?
The overseas interest in Korean food culture has been increasing with Hanryu (the Korean Wave) such as K-Pop and Korean soap operas, and the government’s Korean food globalization strategy of promoting Korean food to the foreign countries. The enhanced quality of Korean agri-products and the world health food boom have further contributed to the trend. Kimchi, citron tea, and makgeolli are especially famous abroad as healthy foods.


What products would you recommend for buyers to have a look at?
I suggest horticultural products and farmed seafood whose production requires a lot of investment and sophisticated technology. In addition, I would recommend well-known Korean products such as kimchi, ginseng, paprika peppers, strawberries, citron tea, apples, enoki, as well as king oyster mushrooms, roses, chrysanthemums, beverages, makgeolli, samgyetang, dried laver, and abalone. Many fresh products are grown using the Traceability System, so they are trustworthy and safe.

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Could you tell us about the international marketing that you conduct to promote Korean agri- and food-products?
We use fairs and EXPOs held overseas as a promotion tool. The aT is planning to participate in 35 exhibitions this year. During the events, the aT will exhibit selected products and hold trade meetings. We are also organizing promotion events and media advertising for local people, buyers, and customers. We are sure these things are helping exporters.
Tell us about the “Distributing Hub for Korean Agri-Products” that is going to be established in China soon.
The hub will be set up in Qingdao late next year. It will be supplied with special equipment including cold storage facilities (for frozen and refrigerated products) and take on marketing missions such as developing new products, market research, and promotions. We decided to select Qingdao for the location of the hub because it is between Shanghai and Beijing - the two great cities of China, and is also close to Korea.


What support do you provide to the overseas buyers?
There are several things. First of all, we invite buyers to Korea. BKF, held twice a year, is representative of such events. We also invite the interested buyers at other times, show them the production fields, and arrange meetings.


What has BKF accomplished?
The process from a meeting to real trade takes a long time. However, it has become much faster since the traders started to attend BKF because a lot of companies participate and the event itself, as it is organized by the aT, has given the buyers confidence and the exporters credibility. Big buyers like Aeon and Asia Express Food concluded importing contracts with Korean companies at last year’s BKF in June.


What is new in this year’s BKF?
The number of Korean agri- and food-products exported to China has recently been on the rise, so we invited more Chinese buyers.
There are three kinds of buyers: importing buyers, vendors, and big distribution companies. We invite all of them at once so that Korean products can go directly onto the shelves of overseas markets. We also invite foreign media to reap better results from promotions.

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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