Domestic harvested area for potatoes in 2011 increased to 26,804 hectares, more than 1,890 hectares.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
GAIN Report Number: KS1211
Korea - Republic of
2012 Potato Update
Potatoes and Potato Products
M. Kathryn Ting
Jung Yun Yeon / Sunyoung Choi / Gerald Smith
Domestic harvested area for potatoes in 2011 increased to 26,804 hectares, more than 1,890 hectares or
7.5 percent above the year earlier level reflecting increased planting due to higher prices. However,
production fell to an estimated 600,000 MT (2.7 percent) due to poor weather. Imports of potatoes
recorded a sharp increase from 79,704 tons in 2010 to 96,628 tons in 2011 due to increasing imports of
both fresh and frozen potatoes.
Korea has a well developed potato-cropping pattern, producing spring, autumn, and highland potatoes.
Production quantity varies from high to low in the same order.
g JA FE MA AP MA JU JU AU SEP OC NO DE
Pattern N B R R Y N L G T V C
Spring Seeding Harvest & Shipment
Highlan Seeding Harvest & Shipment
Harvest & Shipment
Source: Rural Development Administration (RDA), Korea Rural Economic Research Institute (KREI)
Korea has three major potato varieties in production. The Sumi (Superior) potato is the most popular
variety and makes up about 71 percent of annual production. This variety is used for spring and
highland potato production. It has a high starch content and is used as a table stock. The Daeji
(Daejima) potato is the second most popular, making up almost 19 percent of yearly production. It is
primarily used for autumn production in the southern parts of the peninsula. It is often served in
restaurants as a side dish. Lastly, the Daeso (Atlantic) variety accounts for only around 5 percent
(25,000 ? 30,000 MT) of annual potato production. Daeso are mainly used for potato chip processing
and are only grown when farmers contract with a potato chip manufacturer.
Variety Rate Maturity Use
Superior 71.0% Medium Table stock
Daejima 18.5% Late Table stock
Atlantic 5.1% Medium Chip stock
Other 5.4% Medium & Late Table stock
Source: National Institute of Highland Agriculture (NIHA), Rural Development Administration (RDA)
Potato acreage in Korea has fluctuated between 20,000 and 27,000 ha from 2006 to 2011. In 2010,
cultivated area of potatoes increased 4.3 percent over 2009 due to higher prices. Due to the higher retail
price of domestic potatoes in 2010, more farmers switched their field crop to potatoes in 2011, resulting
in a 7.6 percent increase in area planted over 2010. However, the production in 2011 was below the
616,707 MT produced in 2010.
Due to the unfavorable weather during the growing season (colder weather) and harvest season
(frequent rain), 2011 production is estimated at 600,000 MT, which is 2.7 percent (16,707 MT) lower
than the 616,707 MT in 2010. As a result, throughout 2011 the Korean government opened a 3,000 MT
of tariff-rate quota (TRQ) for table potatoes and about 8,000 MT TRQ for chip potatoes in addition to
the existing 18,810 MT WTO TRQ for fresh potatoes to cope with the expected price hike in the
domestic potato market.
Korea: Potato Supply & Demand (Ha/MT) 1/
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Cultivated area (Ha) 23,957 20,421 20,540 21,396 24,913 26,804
Production (MT) 631,086 574,396 604,592 591,053 616,707 600,000 2/
Import 57,374 59,114 60,893 60,005 79,704 96,628
Export 103 77 455 710 570 439
Total supply 688,357 633,433 665,030 650,348 695,841 696,189 2/
Source: Korean Statistical Information Service (KOSIS), Korea Agro-Fisheries Trade Corporation (aT)
1/ Includes fresh and frozen potatoes
2/ Estimated production by FAS Seoul
The per capita consumption of potato in Korea has been steadily declining since its peak in 2006. In
2011, domestic consumption of potato per person is expected to be maintained at close to 13.5kg, which
is the five-year historical average.
Korea: Per Capita Potato Consumption 1/
Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Per Capita Consumption (kg)
14.4 13 13.2 13.6 13.4 N/A
Source: Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI)
1/ Includes fresh and frozen potatoes
In 2011, the retail price for a kilogram of fresh potatoes was about 3,100 won ($2.85), while the
wholesale price was approximately 1,500 won ($1.4). The rise in prices was mainly due to the drop-off
in domestic production resulting from adverse weather conditions. Additionally, insufficient domestic
supply of potatoes played a major role in increasing imports.
Fresh Potato Price & Import Price (Unit: KRW, USD)
Year Retail Price (KRW) Wholesale Price Import Price Exchange Rate
per kg 1/ (KRW) 1/ (USD) 2/ (KRW/USD)
2006 2,229 878 0.46 955.34
2007 2,430 984 0.50 929.38
2008 2,618 1,085 0.49 1,102.6
2009 2,411 1,274 0.50 1,276.4
2010 2,711 1,498 0.61 1,156.3
2011 3,151 1,486 0.63 1,108.8
Source: The Korea International Trade Association (KITA), aT, The Bank of Korea
1/ Price for 1st Grade Sumi Variety
2/ CIF Price
In 2011, Korea imported roughly 90,000 tons of fresh and frozen potato products. Frozen potato
products account for roughly 70 percent of total imports, while fresh potatoes makeup only 30 percent.
Imported fresh potatoes are primarily used in snack food manufacturing, and frozen potato product
imports are mainly French fries.
Korea mostly imports potatoes from the United States, Australia and Canada. Currently, the United
States is the largest potato and potato product supplier to Korea, with total market share ranging
between 60 to 70 percent over the last five years. From 2006 to 2010, U.S. fresh potato exports steadily
increased from roughly 3,700 tons to 17,000 tons respectively. Imports of U.S. frozen potatoes over the
same period increased from 28,970 MT to 54,714 MT.
Korea: Fresh Potato Imports by Country (Unit: tons)
Year Australia U.S. Total
2006 14,202 3,643 17,845
2007 7,934 10,980 18,914
2008 3,044 13,782 16,826
2009 3,599 8,063 11,662
2010 6,705 14,994 21,699
2011 11,936 16,645 28,581
Source: The Korea International Trade Association (KITA)
Korea: Frozen Potato Imports by Country (Unit: tons)
Year U.S. Canada Other Total
2006 28,970 6,684 738 36,392
2007 29,961 5,998 737 36,686
2008 31,024 8,971 1,028 41,023
2009 35,191 7,555 1,540 44,286
2010 47,916 3,704 1,901 53,521
2011 54,714 5,855 1,658 62,227
Source: The Korea International Trade Association (KITA)
Fresh potatoes are subject to a global WTO tariff-rate quota (TRQ) of 18,810 metric tons, with an in-
quota tariff of 30 percent. This TRQ is generally filled each year and is usually allocated for chipping
potatoes. The out-of-quota tariff, a prohibitive 304 percent, discourages any additional
amount. However, the Korean government has increased the WTO TRQ several times in 2007, 2010
and again in 2011 when there was damage in domestic fresh potato production to reduce the impact in
the retail market.
Source: FAS Seoul & KITA
Under the Korea-United States Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) there are separate duties for chip
and table potatoes. Upon implementation of the KORUS FTA on March 15, 2012, chip stock will be
imported with zero duty from December 1 through April 30, while a 304 percent duty will be imposed
during May 1 to November 30 through 2018. That seasonal duty will be eliminated in equal stages from
2019 through 2026. For table stock, 3,000 MT will be imported with zero duty under a TRQ in 2012.
The duty-free volume will increase 3 percent annually, while a 304 percent will be imposed for the
volume exceeding the quota. Current tariff rates are summarized below.
Korea: Current Tariff Rates for Potato & Potato Products
TRQ Current Tariff (%)
Description Quota In- Out-
(MT) quota quota
Seed potatoes (0701100000) 1,898 0% 304%
Fresh potatoes (0701900000) 18,810 30% 304%
Frozen potatoes (0710100000) - 27%
Dried potatoes (0712902093) - 27%
Potato flour (1105100000)
60 5.4% 304%
Potato (flakes) (1105200000)
Potato starch (1108130000) 8% 455%
Prepared frozen potatoes
Prepared or preserved vegetables, potatoes (form of
powder or flakes) - 20%
a/ : The Quota reflects the total amount of Starch and seven other products
Korea is an important market for U.S. fresh and frozen potatoes, importing roughly 71,400 metric tons
of potatoes and products in 2011. Historically, the United States, Australia, and limited regions of
Japan have been permitted to export fresh potatoes to Korea. As of February 15, 2011, New Zealand?s
fresh potatoes were permitted to import into Korea. Fresh potatoes are divided into chip and table
The Republic of Korea Government has historically permitted a limited quantity of chip stock potato to
be imported under a WTO TRQ. The demand for chip stock potato is high because major Korean snack
manufacturers are in need of good quality chipping potatoes.
Inspection and Quarantine
Korea enforces strict food safety and phytosanitary requirements for imported potatoes.
Due to quarantine regulations (pest control), 27 U.S. states (Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia,
New York, Utah, Nebraska, California, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota,
Kansas, Wyoming, Delaware, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Nevada, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota,
Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Wisconsin, Texas, Idaho: Bingham and Bonneville county) are not
allowed to export fresh potatoes to Korea. Victoria and West Australia state in Australia are also not
allowed to export fresh potatoes to Korea.
Potato spindle tuber viroid, Synchytrium endobioticum (potato wart), Globodera rostochiensis (golden
nematode), Globodera pallida, Zebra chip and etc are the quarantine pests in Korea. Accordingly,
shipments from all origins are subject to quarantine inspection for the related pest list. Imported fresh
potatoes must be washed and be reasonably free of soil and free of any foreign materials including dirt
from the shipment.
Food processors use potato powder for processing varied snack products. Additionally, dehydrated
potatoes are also used in soups and potato noodles.
The United States has dominated the market for frozen potato products, and currently has over 80
percent share. The demand for frozen potatoes in Korea is highest in fast food restaurants, where
French fries are often sold. However, new franchises specializing in French fries with exotic toppings
have contributed to the increase demand for frozen potato.
Korea?s school meal processing industry is a new market opportunity for U.S. frozen products. Many
imported food items, which are not easy to source domestically, are consumed for school lunch program
these days. For example, fruit, imported meat (pork, beef and chicken) and frozen vegetables and
various sauces are used for the school menus. Korean schools are increasing offerings of potato
products. For example, mashed potato salad is a popular school lunch item.
Additionally, shopping marts are now selling several American potato products. Korean consumers are
showing an increasing interest in fresh produce imports including high-quality U.S. potato and potato
products. In 2011, E-Mart, the top discount store chain in Korea introduced U.S. Russets potatoes for
baked potatoes with successful results. In addition, more Korean consumers are looking for various
types of frozen French fries products in these days.
The implementation of the KORUS FTA on March 15, 2012, will provide additional opportunities for
U.S. potato products.
Fresh Chip Stock (HSK 0701900000)
From December 1 through April 30 the tariff will be immediately eliminated from the current 304
percent. (Currently, access is limited to the tariff-rate quota amount with an in-quota rate of 30 percent.)
From May 1 to November 30, the tariff will remain at 304 percent for the first 7 years (2012-2018) and
will be eliminated in eight equal stations beginning January 1, 2019. The duty will be eliminated
beginning January 1, 2026.
Fresh Table Stock (HSK 0701900000)
The current tariff of 304% will be exempted within a duty-free tariff-rate quota, initially set at 3,000
MT. This in-quota amount will increase by 3 percent annually:
From 2017, quota increases 3 percent every
Year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 year
TRQ 3,000 3,090 3,183 3,278 3,377
Frozen Potatoes (HSK 2004100000)
Tariff will be immediately eliminated from the current 18%.
Annual reduction in tariffs will provide incremental additional market access.
HS Code Current Reduction
HSK 0712902093 (dehydrated pieces: Other Dried vegetables,
27% 5 years
HSK 2005209000 (blended) Prepared or preserved vegetables,
20% 5 years
potatoes (form of powder or flakes)
The table below shows the trigger level and safeguard duty for HS Code 1105100000 items (flour, meal,
powder) and HS Code 1105200000 items (flakes, granules, pellets). The duty-free amount for 2012
equals 5,000 tons for the first year. On imports above this amount, the safeguard duty of 294.3 percent
will be applied. This trigger level will gradually increase over 11 years, while the safeguard duty will
be phased out by January 1, 2022.
Year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 202
Level 5,00 5,15 5,30 5,46 5,62 5,79 5,97 6,14 6,33 6,52 N/A
(MT) 0 0 5 4 8 6 0 9 4 4
d Duty 294. 284. 274. 265. 255. 214. 199. 184. 169. 155. 0
(%) 3 5 8 1 4 6 7 8 9 0