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Interview/Baek Jin-seok, Executive Vice President of aT in Charge of Food Exports

aT (Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation) is a public enterprise specializing in exports. It strives to advance Korean agricultural and fishery industries by helping their products gain their own competitive power in the global market. The organization offers information and support to food, agricultural, and fishery companies trying to extend their business overseas. Baek Jin-seok, an Executive Vice President of aT, heads the food export department. As a person in charge of export business, he works hard to promote Korean agricultural and fishery products in foreign markets. Korea Agrafood interviewed him on aT’s plans for 2017.

Agrafood: What tasks are aT focusing on this year?
Baek: It is important to expand the scale of sales of Korean products abroad. Hence, our plan is to strengthen the support system at each stage, from the production to the development of new markets. This will help increase incomes of farmers and related businesses. Also, in the areas with poor conditions for distribution of products exported from Korea, we will enlarge our local offices to use them as base centers for storing refrigerated and frozen foods. To diversify export markets, we plan to build a new marketing strategy for each of the countries with a good potential for export of Korean goods.

Agrafood: What are your expectations of export markets for agricultural and fishery products in 2017?
Baek: We estimate that the scale of trade and commerce will expand by 5 to 10% due to the recognition of the high quality of Korean products in foreign markets. Sales of Korean baby foods have dramatically increased in the markets categorized as newly advanced. The demand for fresh agricultural products such as strawberry and bell pepper is also rising. To continue this trend, we will strengthen our promotional activities targeting consumers and diversify our sales channels.

Agrafood: Why is the export of Korean agricultural and fishery products so important?
Baek: In the globalized world, most countries now have agricultural and fishery products from abroad in their markets. Korea is no exception; it can’t help facing the imbalance between supply and demand when it comes to major food products. Hence, it is necessary to find foreign markets for Korean goods, so that domestic prices are stabilized and farm incomes grow.

Agrafood: What are aT’s plans for the expansion of the exports?
Baek: We plan to focus on raising the international competitiveness of Korean products. We will do our best to offer systematic support in different fields including the promotion of exporting companies, the implementation of local market research, the development of new goods, and the improvement of distribution. Using aT’s overseas network, we will continue to closely watch for and inform Korean businesses about changes in the exporting environment and consumption markets. We hope that our efforts will create good opportunities for Korean enterprises to export and foreign consumers to obtain Korean agricultural and fishery products.

Park Sung Eun  parkse@agrinet.co.kr

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