Japan to expand import quota for South Korean nori

Kyodo, Staff Report

Japan will more than double its quota for imports of South Korean nori to 2.7 billion sheets, the Fisheries Agency said Wednesday.

The increase will take place in stages by fiscal 2025. It is the result of an agreement reached with the South Korean government aimed at ending a dispute over the trade.

The change will affect Japan’s domestic seaweed farmers, as South Korean nori currently commands 9 percent of the Japanese market.

Japan consumes 9 billion sheets of nori every year, the agency said, citing units measuring 19 cm by 21 cm.

Nori is also imported from China. The government maintains an import quota system to protect domestic manufacturers.

In 2004, South Korea requested bilateral consultations with the Japanese government, alleging that Japan’s import quota system for seaweed violated international trade rules. The World Trade Organization created a dispute settlement panel to handle the matter the following year.

In 2006, Japan agreed to increase its import quota of South Korean seaweed to 1.2 billion sheets by fiscal 2015.

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