KORUS FTA-fishery goods

SEOUL, March 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's imports of fishery products from the U.S. have jumped since the implementation of the free trade agreement with the world's largest economy, data showed Thursday.

After years of hard negotiations and ratification procedures, the free trade agreement, dubbed the "KORUS FTA," went into effect on March 15 last year, following a similar deal with the European Union that took effect in July 2011.

According to the data compiled by the Korea Maritime Institute, South Korea imported fishery and other marine products worth US$171 million between March 2012 and January 2013, up 15.5 percent from a year earlier.

In contrast, South Korea's exports of fishery products to the U.S. reached $163 million, down 1.64 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.

The data also showed that Seoul's imports of pollack surged 28 percent during the cited period to reach $44 million, with those of sardines surging four-fold to $2 million.

But imports of codfish and monkfish dropped 13.4 percent and 8 percent, respectively, to reach $7.2 million and $12 million, according to the data.

South Korea's exports of dried laver to the U.S. soared 36 percent to $48 million over the cited period, and shipments of red queen crab to the U.S. also jumped five-fold to reach $5.5 million, according to the data.

The institute said exports of fishery goods to the U.S. may further increase as the U.S. lifted restrictions on oysters imported from South Korea early this month.

South Korea's exports of oysters to the U.S. were suspended between May last year and February this year as norovirus was found in the fishery product.

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