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Thanks to U.S.: South Korean powdered milk exports to China drop 42% in 2017

Staff Writer |
South Korean powdered milk exports to China plunged nearly 42 percent on-year in 2017, due to the diplomatic row caused by the deployment of a missile defense system.

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The Ministry of Agriculture, Food Rural Affairs said the country shipped out $77.8 million worth of the dried dairy products during the one year period, down 36 percent from $121.5 million tallied for 2016.

It said the main reason for the weaker numbers is the 41.6 percent drop in powdered milk exports to China, which stood at $61.2 million last year from $104.9 million in the previous year.

The ministry said demand for the dairy product fell off after two-way relations were strained after the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense in South Korean early last year. China has stridently opposed the stationing of the US THAAD system and its powerful radars, and has apparently targeted South Korean companies in reprisal.

It said the closure of most South Korean owned Lotte Mart operations in China, the outlet that was the main distributor of South Korea powered milk in the country, impacted overall sales.

The ministry said that even after Seoul and Beijing agreed to "normalize relations" late last year things have not improved on the export front.

In January, powered milk exports totaled $1.78 million, down from $5.86 million in the first month of 2017.

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