South Korea’s ‘kimchi deficit’ hits record high

South Korea imported more than 275,000 tons of kimchi last year, 99 percent of it from China, and exported just over 24,000 tons. (AFP)
Updated 17 January 2018
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South Korea’s ‘kimchi deficit’ hits record high

SEOUL: South Korea’s trade deficit in kimchi, its proud traditional side dish of fermented cabbage, reached an all-time high last year as low-priced Chinese imports flooded the market, statistics showed Wednesday.
The spicy foodstuff is emblematic of Korean cuisine and accompanies almost every meal served in the country, whatever its culinary origins, with kimchi-making still an important annual ritual for many families.
But the commercial market has been deluged by Chinese producers in recent years, resulting in what has been dubbed the “kimchi deficit.”
South Korea imported more than 275,000 tons of kimchi last year, 99 percent of it from China, the Korea Customs Service (KCS) said, and exported just over 24,000 tons.
The deficit stood at $47.3 million by value, up 11 percent year-on-year and the largest since the KCS began tracking the data in 2000.
Price is a major factor in the trade, with imports costing just $0.50 per kilogram in 2016 according to Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp., while exports — primarily destined for Japan — averaged $3.36 per kilogram.
According to South Korea’s World Institute of Kimchi, 89.9 percent of the kimchi purchased by South Korean restaurants in 2016 was imported from China.
The kimchi trade first went into deficit in 2006, triggering soul-searching and a headline-grabbing scandal.
UNESCO inscribed South Korean kimchi on its intangible cultural heritage list in 2013, saying: “It forms an essential part of Korean meals, transcending class and regional differences.
Kimchi-making “reaffirms Korean identity and is an excellent opportunity for strengthening family cooperation,” it added, and a reminder that human communities need to live in harmony with nature.
There are regional differences in the product, UNESCO added, and the specific methods and ingredients are considered an important family heritage, typically transmitted from a mother-in-law to her newly married daughter-in-law.


Canada acquires rare book previously owned by Adolf Hitler

Updated 24 January 2019
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Canada acquires rare book previously owned by Adolf Hitler

  • The book details certain cities' population statistics along with organizations and media outlets key at the time to North America's Jewish communities
  • The bookplate bears an eagle, and swastika, and the words "Ex Libris Adolf Hitler," indicating it was part of his personal library

OTTAWA: Library and Archives Canada announced Wednesday it had acquired a rare 1944 book that once belonged to Adolf Hitler.
Written in German, "Statistics, Media, and Organizations of Jewry in the United States and Canada" is a 137-page report produced in 1944 by Heinz Kloss, a famed German linguist who had contact with US Nazi sympathizers.
The book details certain cities' population statistics along with organizations and media outlets key at the time to North America's Jewish communities, Library and Archives Canada said in a statement.
"This work hints at the story of what might have happened in Canada had the Allies lost World War II. It also demonstrates that the Holocaust was not a purely European event, but rather an operation that was stopped before it reached North America," it added.
The bookplate bears an eagle, and swastika, and the words "Ex Libris Adolf Hitler," indicating it was part of his personal library.
"It is fundamental ... to acquire, preserve and make available documents no matter how controversial or contentious they could be," said Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada.
Hitler was an avid reader with a collection reportedly containing 6,000 to 16,000 titles.
Library and Archives Canada said the book was likely brought back to the US as a souvenir of war, as in spring 1945 American soldiers took thousands of books from the Nazi leader's second home near Berchtesgaden, in the German Alps.
The institution added it acquired the book from a reputable Judaica dealer, who obtained it as part of a collection owned by a Holocaust survivor.