South Korea, known for its rich tea traditions, has emerged as a significant player in the global tea trade.
South Korea’s Tea Exports
In 2021, South Korea ranked as the 38th largest exporter of tea globally, with tea exports amounting to $16.8M. Tea occupied the 664th position among South Korea’s most exported products during the same year. The primary destinations for South Korean tea exports were Japan, accounting for a substantial share of $8.63M, followed by the United States at $3.96M, Germany at $601k, the Netherlands at $400k, and Australia at $313k.
Emerging Export Markets
South Korea witnessed notable growth in tea exports between 2020 and 2021, indicating its expanding presence in international tea markets. The fastest-growing export markets for South Korean tea during this period were Japan, with a remarkable increase of $8.19M, followed by the United States at $1.03M and Vietnam at $252k. These figures highlight South Korea’s success in diversifying its tea export destinations and capitalizing on emerging market opportunities.
Where Does South Korea Export Its Tea (2021)
|Asia||United Arab Emirates||43,285|
|Europe||Bosnia and Herzegovina||233|
|North America||Dominican Republic||14|
|North America||El Salvador||34|
|North America||Trinidad and Tobago||106|
|North America||United States||3,960,542|
|Oceania||Northern Mariana Islands||576|
Tea Imports into South Korea
In 2021, South Korea became the 59th largest tea importer globally, with tea imports valued at $23.9M. Tea ranked as the 805th most imported product in South Korea during the same year. South Korea primarily sourced its tea imports from China, accounting for a significant share of $5.91M. Other notable import sources included Germany at $2.39M, Singapore at $2.2M, Sri Lanka at $1.92M, and the United States at $1.64M.
Expanding Import Markets
South Korea experienced substantial growth in tea imports between 2020 and 2021, reflecting an increasing demand for a diverse range of teas among its population. The fastest-growing import markets for tea in South Korea during this period were the United Kingdom, with an impressive increase of $833k, followed by the United States at $623k and France at $482k. These figures underscore South Korea’s efforts to diversify its tea suppliers and cater to the evolving preferences of tea enthusiasts within the country.
In 2018, the average tariff rate for tea imports in South Korea stood at 285%. Notably, countries such as Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, Burma, and Malaysia imposed the highest import tariffs on tea, with a most favored nation duty rate treatment of 514%. These tariff structures have implications for importers and exporters engaged in the tea trade between South Korea and these countries.
Vietnam Tea: A Popular and Reliable Choice for South Korea’s Imports
Vietnam tea has consistently been a popular and trustworthy choice for South Korea, thanks to its premium quality and competitive pricing. In 2021, South Korea imported tea from Vietnam with a total value of $157,774, marking a 6% increase compared to the previous year. Vietnam holds a significant position as an important supplier of tea to South Korea, catering to its tea requirements effectively.
South Korea’s tea industry showcases promising growth, with expanding tea exports and a vibrant market for tea imports. As a notable tea exporter, South Korea’s trade relationship with Japan, the United States, and other emerging markets is flourishing. Simultaneously, its reliance on tea imports from China, Germany, and other countries highlights the country’s commitment to meeting domestic demand for a diverse range of high-quality teas. By fostering trade collaborations, promoting sustainable practices, and navigating tariff barriers, South Korea’s tea industry has the potential to make significant contributions to the global tea market. By nurturing trade relationships and exploring new market opportunities, South Korea can further enhance its standing in the tea trade industry while satisfying the preferences of tea enthusiasts within its borders.