As of April 14, 2020, high oleic soybean oil is registered in the Korean Food Code Book. The finalization was announced through the Korea Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s website.
Codex and Korea’s Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS Code) for soybean oil have been updated in Korea to reflect high oleic soybean oil. Previously, there was no specification for high oleic soybean oil in Korea’s HS Codes nor in Korean Codex. USSEC worked with Korean stakeholders to encourage the Korean government to update soybean oil codes to reflect high oleic soybean oil.
This market access work yielded success; in late November, the Korean Government updated their HS code for crude degummed soybean oil to include high oleic soybean oil. Additionally, as of December 30, 2019, the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) released an administrative notice to include high oleic soybean oil in Korean Codex. After a public hearing and the Experts Committee review, high oleic soybean oil was included in Korean Codex on April 14.
Korea is a top target market for high oleic exports, and this new specification is helping to allay trade concerns. The change to HS code and codex allows U.S. high oleic soybean oil to enter the Korean market tariff-free as well. This success could not be better timed, as two Korean companies have started to import commercial quantities of high oleic soybean oil, for use within both the retail and HRI sector.
The Korean government updating the HS Code and Codex sets a precedent for other countries to follow in updating their own regulations.