Russia Becomes Largest Importer to South Korea in Seafood Supply in 2023, Overtaking China

Russian frozen cod

In a noteworthy shift in the global seafood industry, Russia has emerged as the top country for seafood import to South Korea in 2023, outpacing China and marking a significant milestone in international trade dynamics. This development underscores Russia’s growing influence in the seafood export sector and its pivotal role in South Korea’s seafood supply chain.

According to the latest data released by Union Forsea Corp., the total volume of seafood imported to South Korea in 2023 reached 972,821 tons, which is a 20% decrease compared to 1,218,013 tons imported in 2022. Despite the overall reduction in quantity, the import value stood at $4.58016 billion, indicating a 15% decrease from the previous year’s $5.3789 billion.

The list of leading suppliers for seafood import to South Korea is led by Russia, contributing 29.6% of the total import volume. Following Russia, China accounted for 21.8%, with Norway (8.05%), Peru (6.45%), and Vietnam (5.51%) making up the rest of the top five suppliers. Russia’s exports to South Korea totaled 288,051 tons, a significant reduction of 45.5% from the previous year’s 528,065 tons. In contrast, China’s supply slightly increased by 1.4% to 212,387 tons. Norway, Peru, and Vietnam also saw changes in their export volumes to South Korea, reflecting the dynamic nature of the seafood supply market.

The assortment of seafood products imported to South Korea from these countries is diverse. Russia is primarily known for its frozen cod, China for frozen Ankang fish, and Peru for frozen giant squid. Vietnam’s contribution is mainly in frozen octopus, while the United States specializes in frozen yellowfin flounder. Additionally, Taiwan exports frozen large squid, Japan offers chili peppers and live scallops, and a substantial amount of frozen yellow croaker is imported from Mexico.

In 2023, the value of aquatic product imports to South Korea was $4.58016 billion, with an average import price of $4.71 per kilogram. Notably, Norwegian seafood fetched the highest price at $7.21 per kilogram, while Mexican seafood was the most affordable at $1.94 per kilogram.

The emerging dominance of Russia in the seafood export market, particularly in its role as the primary supplier for import to South Korea, highlights the evolving landscape of the global seafood industry. These changes not only reflect the shifting trade patterns but also underscore the strategic importance of Russia in South Korea’s seafood supply chain.


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