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South Korean on-site check for BD food exporters

Rezaul Karim | Published: July 11, 2019 11:10:19 | Updated: July 14, 2019 12:28:55


Photo collected from internet has been used for representational purpose only
South Korea has embarked on an on-site inspection of some Bangladeshi food companies to see any possible health hazard from the imported items.

A two-member team of the Korean food and drug safety authority are already in Bangladesh for the purpose, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

Bombay Sweets, Square Food and Beverage, ACI Food, Pran Agro Food, Eurasia Food Processing, SM International and Agrotech International have come under scanner.

EPB assistant director Md Rafiqul Islam, who is coordinating with the team, said they visited Pran, ACI and Bombay plants on July 02, 04 and 07 respectively.

The quality checks began in the wake of instructions made by the government authorities concerned.

Food ministry has recently sought commerce ministry's cooperation as per an EPB request to this end.

In February, Korean embassy in Dhaka wrote two letters of its food and drug safety ministry to foreign ministry here regarding on-site inspection.

Korean director for on-site inspection division of imported food safety policy bureau Han Woon-sub sent the letters.

The letters were later forwarded to EPB that informed the exporters of such an inspection by the Korean regulator.

In February, Korea enlisted seven Bangladeshi food-exporting companies for on-site inspection according to article 06 of the Special Act on Safety Food Management, an EPB source said.

It repeatedly requested the firms to help inspect the facilities, but to no avail. The exporters did not cooperate with the Korean regulator.

Later, Seoul warned Dhaka of suspending imports if the exporters do not cooperate with the quality checks on site by the food watchdog, the source added.

According to the letters, "This notification is with regard to on-site inspection of food facilities in 2019."

The inspection is meant to prevent hazards in food items exported into Korea to according to social act on imported food safety management.

"…the MFDS (ministry of food and drug safety) chose the facilities which have not responded to multiple notifications on on-site inspection or have postponed inspection date several times."

"The MDFS may suspend import of the products if the facilities refuse the on-site inspection according to article 6 of "Special Act on Imported Food Safety Management," reads the notification.

Bangladesh and South Korea are the members of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA). Both countries have been maintaining good bilateral trade ties.

Bangladesh's exports to South Korea totalled $254.84 million in fiscal year 2017-18 and imports from Korea accounted for $1240.70 million, a document showed.

Korea has expanded its duty-free, quota-free (DFQF) facility for LDCs (least developed countries).

As per the latest expansion, a total of 4,802 products have been accorded zero-tariff facility for LDCs with effect from January 01, 2011.

It covers a good number of textile and footwear items in which Bangladesh enjoys a comparative advantage.

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