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What Are Going to Be the Big Trade Items Between Costa Rica & South Korea?

Costa Rica News – Tropical fruit in different presentations, coffee and cocoa are the Costa Rican products that have market possibilities in South Korea. According to the Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer) information presented on the morning of Friday, November 18, two days following the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

costa-rica-coffee-1Negotiation of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Asian nation and the Central American countries was completed on Wednesday morning. Additional negotiation as a whole and market access (elimination of tariffs and definition of the origin of products to qualify for free trade) will be dealt with upon agreement.

The findings of the study show that the Korean consumer is enthusiastic about new ideas and trends. This promotes taste for new products with attributes of health and sustainability. In addition, the population of the Republic of Korea has a high level of income ($ 36,500 per capita in 2015), which places them as a population with basic needs satisfied and willing to devote a larger portion of spending to material things and emotional satisfaction.

Procomer noted that tropical fruit consumption accounts for almost a third of the fresh fruit industry in the country and has an annual average growth of 5%. The market is dominated by suppliers from the Philippines and Thailand, but there are opportunities for Costa Rican fruit in the face of regional shortages.

Specific niches seeking certification for environmental sustainability or organic production are other areas of opportunity for Costa Rican farmers. Frozen fruits and fruit purees are strong food industries that depend on imported inputs. This type of fruit presentation is used for food manufacturers, coffee shops and fruit-based beverage stores. The growth of 8% per year in the consumption of pineapple juice in the last five years makes this fruit stand out.

Coffee is one of the most dynamic markets in Korea because going to a coffee shop provides an opportunity to socialize and this is something that the young population is looking for. Product retail is dominated by coffee multinationals and the supply is mainly instant coffee. However, coffee beans in grain or ground coffee have recently gained importance and this presents opportunities for coffee makers in Costa Rica. There are also opportunities to become a supplier of coffee shops or ready-to-drink coffee makers looking for premium suppliers.

In the case of cocoa, there are premium products that demand something different. Those chocolates with untraditional fruit fillings and flashy packaging could find a niche in the retail channel, increasing cocoa opportunity.

The report indicates that the demand and consumer willingness for spending of South Korea positions Costa Rica’s products in an economic growth opportunity thanks to the FTA between both countries.

By Brenda Sotelo

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