The Korea-Italy Connection

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I had heard about the Italian government bringing in Korean VIPs to promote its food and wine. The Seoul Times recently published an article on the details of what’s going on.

The article talks more about the upcoming free trade talks with the EU. Here are some interesting tidbits:

  • The Korean VIPs were 17 business execs and journalists
  • At the “Cibus 2007 Roma” convention, some Korean execs wanted to sign contracts with Italian producers on the spot
  • There’s no time limit to the Korea-EU FTA talks (unlike the KORUS FTA)
  • Tariffs are higher in the EU on Korean products than they are in the US
  • The article predicts that South Korea may become the leading importer for wine and foodstuffs in East Asia (according to “market watchers”)
  • Korea’s free trade pact with Chile two years ago has made it surpass Japan in Chile’s imports (I didn’t know there was a free trade pact with Chile)
    • That also explains why Chilean wine has been so heavily promoted in the past few years
  • From Captain Obvious: South Korea imports a lot of foreign wine because its domestic wine production is almost non-existent
  • Domestically labeled wine is really bulk wine imported from other countries (read the label)
  • Article claims that the touting of red wine as a health benefit has increased its popularity in Korea, along with
    • Higher incomes
    • “Westernization” of lifestyles
  • Pasta, pasta sauces, and Italian cheeses are already popular in South Korea

This brings me to what I believe to be true: Italian food is universal. In my limited world travels, it has seemed to me that Italian cuisine has been one of the first and most popular “foreign” cuisines in each country.

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4 thoughts on “The Korea-Italy Connection”

  1. I tried to hook up with you guys tonight… But my taxi driver took far too long getting to Yongsan station. So, when I arrived at 9:15pm nobody with roundeyes was waiting. I looked for the “really big [restaurant] down that block”, but being a 3-way intersection I spent the next ten minutes walking and looking inside restaurants, never seeing the group I had imagined. Finally I gave up and took another taxi home… Not really in the mood to go back tonight for the movie now. 🙁

    Anyway, next time, how about a detailed scheme? Establish a time window at a hof/bar where people can gather (…and drink), then proceed to a restaurant (also list the name of the restaurant), maybe even toss up a contact phone number.

    All’s not lost, it’s still a great night for a bike ride. Hope you all had fun.

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  2. Dang!

    I was worried about that. We were checking the area in intervals to see if anyone was waiting. I felt like I should have asked for people’s numbers privately just in case something like that would happen.

    I really missed you there and was asking if anyone there was Max Watson.

    Nonetheless, the thing was a bit of a success, and we have noted the mistakes we made. And it looks like this type of event will be more frequent from now on. Some have talked about doing something similar of the premiere of Harry Potter. And we’re planning to do the Brazilian restaurant some time this month.

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  3. That corner wasn’t exactly the best place to for me to wait around, given the proximity to the red light and all I didn’t want any ajumas mistaking me for a manwhore.

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  4. Love the article! I spent several months in Andong and grew very fond of their Soju. I sure wish I could find it in the states. Ah! jjimdak, Hof and Soju! I do miss Andong

    Reply

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