South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-moon and Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Ren Hongbin are expected to meet virtually today
South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-moon and Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Ren Hongbin are expected to meet virtually today for their annual economic dialogue to discuss bilateral trade and investment.
Expect Jong-moon to discuss cooperation in Korean entertainment exports but ultimately focus on supply shortage of urea. Here he will ask for China to ease export restrictions of urea. Seoul is grappling with scarcity of urea, a key element added in fuels diesel to cut harmful emissions from trucks and factories. Shortages can cause bottlenecks within advanced supply chains and non-usage can result in environmental sanctions; a scenario Seoul is desperate to avoid.
South Korea currently imports 97% of its urea from China. To make up for the current shortfall, Seoul has inked supply agreements for 27,000 liters of urea solution from Australia, Vietnam and Malaysia, hoping to build a stockpile of up to 5 months of supply.
The shortage comes in lieu of the recent export restrictions by China in October as it deals with its own domestic energy crises due to low coal production and bans Australian coal imports. Diplomatic meetings are being held to encourage China to ease restrictions which will boost their relationships.