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Koreans boycotting Japanese products bring beer numbers down


South Korean import of beer fell for the first time last year in a decade, largely on a nationwide boycott of Japanese products amid a year-long trade dispute.

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Imports of beer stood at 360,000 tons in 2019, down 7.2 percent from 387,000 tons a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Korea Customs Service.

It marked the first on-year decrease since 2009, a sharp turnaround from a 17.1 percent hike in 2018 and a 50.2 percent jump in 2017.

Local vendors largely attributed the fall to weak demand for Japanese beer products.

Since July last year, South Korean consumers have waged an anti-Japan campaign in protest of Tokyo’s export regulations on some key industrial materials crucial to the production of chips and displays.

Whisky imports also dipped last year, extending their fall to a third consecutive year.

Inbound shipments of whisky stood at 19,800 tons in 2019, down 0.7 percent from 19,900 tons in 2018 and 20,200 tons in 2017.

The decrease began amid the country’s implementation of a new anti-corruption act in 2016, industrial sources said.

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The introduction of a 52-hour work hour system in 2018 also pulled down whisky consumption, they said.

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