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Dear U.S. Egg Industry:
USDA/FAS prepared some answers to commonly asked questions regarding exports to South Korea. Please see below. Also, AMS would like to remind exporters to please send two original signature certificates, both the Form PY-210S and the Disease Free Statement. It may be that two were issued at origin, but both have to be delivered to import officials.
1. Each carton must have the inspection stamp and label on the top of the box. Answer: This is not true. Although there was a shipment of eggs that came in with such inspection stamp and label on the top of the box, it is not the only method approved for seals. As long as you can show the Korean quarantine officer that there is a seal placed on the box, or pallets, or containers, or even whole cargo plane (which is not possible), it is acceptable. We reconfirmed this with the quarantine office at Incheon airport. The whole purpose of the seal is to show that there was no product tampering, and as long as this goal is achieved, the method of seal should not be a problem. The Korean government has informed our office that air shipments of table eggs (including sample shipments) must be sealed in some way. Since the cargo plane itself cannot be sealed, they require each pallet to be sealed in such a way that would indicate product tampering. The type of seal must be designed so that pallets can be uniquely identified and would indicate tampering if broken. 
2. They are telling us that each dozen of loose must be shrink wrapped and labelled in Korean; that carton eggs must have Korean labels on each carton.
Answer: Eggs must be sold in some type of package with Korean labels on the package surface. As you cannot put labels on the individual eggs, you will have to cover the eggs with plastic cover or put it in a box that can fully cover the eggs so that you can put the Korean label stickers on the box or plastic cover. Typically, eggs are sold in packages containing 10, 15 or 30 eggs per package. Korea does not sell eggs by the dozen. We have also seen some packages containing 20 eggs. Regardless of the number of eggs in each retail package, they have to be packaged and have a Korean label printed or stickered onto the packages. Please see photos of two type of egg packages.
These labels can be put on in the United States or in the bonded warehouses in Korea before they are released for Customs clearance. It is not a requirement to have the Korean labels on the packages for them to be exported to Korea. This is a commercial arrangement that needs to be sorted out between the importer and exporter on where and who will put the Korean labels on the packages. Given the fragile characteristic of the eggs, it is time consuming to put the plastic cover and Korean label stickers on the eggs. As of yesterday, the shipment that arrived January 14 only had put the plastic covers on the eggs, but still needed to put the Korean labels on the plastic cover before it can be released.
3. Another one is telling us that on loose eggs, each flat of 30 must be shrink wrapped and labelled in Korean. Answer: Please see answer provided in #2.
4.  Some are saying that the shelf life is 25 days. The importer that received our sample is being told the actual importer must petition MFDS and must submit a “shelf life certificate from both AMS and USDA”.  Do you have any idea what they mean by that? Is that, indeed, the agreed process to get an extended shelf life? Answer: Korea does not dictate what shelf life has to be. The exporter must be able to back up the claim if using longer than 45 days. USDA will allow a maximum of 90 days, but the responsibility for any claim rests with the producer. Again, Korea will not commit to a specified shelf life maximum, but the seller must be able to demonstrate the duration of quality if challenged by the government. We don't know if this is the same case or not, but when we contacted MFDS, they had received the following request from an importer:  The eggs came in with a shelf life printed stating that the shelf life is 30 days from the packing date. The boxes covering these eggs had a label to keep the eggs at 42 degrees Fahrenheit (equal to degrees 5.56 centigrade). However, the importer wants to market his eggs at room temperature with the same 30-day shelf life, claiming that the original shelf life is 90 days for chilled eggs. This is when MFDS asked the importer to get justification from the establishment, and not AMS, that certifies that the shelf life for these eggs can be 30 days in room temperature (1 – 30 degrees centigrade). 
5. One is telling us that they need both the original health certificate with stamp and a duplicate certificate also with a stamp. Answer: That is correct. MFDS has refused to accept carbon copies of the certificates. The first set of original certificates are submitted to the Quarantine Inspection Agency (QIA) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The duplicate set, with original signature in blue color and blue color stamp of certificate number, needs to be submitted to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS). We have received a number of certificates that were rejected by MFDS because a carbon copy was submitted. AMS is sending us the copies with the original signature and stamp to resolve this issue.

Total budget for subsidizing freight costs:  1,005,000,000 won (equal to $854,301 at US$1=1,176.4 won at the official exchange rate on January 19, 2017). This subsidy is only available for products clearing customs on or before February 28, 2017, or when the total budget is used up.
Subsidy to facilitate the import prior to Lunar New Year (air freight):  The products that clear Customs on January 25, 2017 or before shall receive 50 percent of the air freight, up to a maximum of 1.5 million won per metric ton. If the air freight is 2.5 million won per MT, the subsidy will be 1.25 million won. If the freight is 3.5 million won/MT, then the subsidy will only be 1.5 million won per MT and not 1.75 million won. Please note that the eggs have to complete the quarantine inspection, finish the lab tests and clear customs by January 25, 2017 to receive this amount of subsidy.
Subsidy to help egg importers after January 25, 2017 to February 28, 2017 (air freight):  Korea will provide a subsidy of 50 percent of the air freight up to a maximum of 1.0 million won per metric ton. Please note that the eggs have to complete the quarantine inspection, finish the lab tests and clear customs by February 28, 2017 to receive this amount of subsidy.
Subsidy for eggs being imported via sea: Korea will provide a subsidy of up to 50 percent of the sea freight, up to a maximum of 90,000 won per metric ton. Please note that the eggs have to complete the quarantine inspection, finish the lab tests and clear customs by February 28, 2017 to receive this amount of subsidy.
As of January 18, 2017, a total of 377 metric tons of egg have arrived in Korea and are currently undergoing inspection. Even if you provide the full amount of subsidy per metric ton for these 377 MT, the amount of subsidy used up would only be 565,500,000 won (56.3 percent of the allocated budget).
However, given that it takes about 8 days to clear customs after undergoing lab tests, etc., the planes would have to have landed in Korea no later than January 18 to meet the deadline for customs clearance on January 25 to receive the higher amount of subsidy. The planes that land later than January 19, 2017 would probably be eligible for a subsidy of to 50 percent of the air freight up to a maximum of 1.0 million won per metric ton until the full amount of budget has been used up. This is the most likely reason for cancelling air shipments.
Another rumor is that the importers are having difficulty in securing cargo planes.
AEB will continue to share all key South Korea updates from USAPEEC and USDA. Please feel free to reach out to David Fraser (901.674.1793 or or John Howeth (224.563.3705 or with any questions or concerns.
Thank you,

The American Egg Board
Copyright © 2017 American Egg Board, All rights reserved.

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