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|Tuesday, April 17, 2001, updated at 08:19(GMT+8)|
South Korea to Import Chinese Garlic to Avoid Trade WarSouth Korea has decided to import another 10,000 tons of garlic from China, a key trade dispute threatening local exporters of mobile phones and polyethylene goods, officials said Monday.
The decision came as Beijing set Wednesday for the deadline for Seoul to import the garlic or face a temporary ban on two major export items to China -- cellular phones and polyethylene goods -- in retaliation.
"The government and businesses have agreed to share the cost of importing the garlic," a commerce, industry and energy ministry official said.
The official said that the bill should be broken into the agriculture and forestry ministry and the exporters of mobile phones and polyethylene. But it still remains yet to be decided how to share the charges.
South Korea promised to buy 32,000 tons of Chinese garlic last year, but has since imported 22,000 tons. Amid falling prices and lower demand at home, South Korean garlic importers refused to buy more garlic.
The Seoul government has been asking local mobile phone and polyethylene exporters instead to share the cost for importing the remaining 10,000 tons of garlic, worth some 10 billion won (US$7.5 million).
South Korea exported polyethylene goods worth some US$550 million and cellular phones totalling US$120 million to China last year.
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