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Australian egg exporters are helping the South Korean Government with egg supplies following a severe shortage.

The government temporarily removed tariffs for egg imports from countries such as Australia after a bird flu outbreak led it to cull hens.

The opportunity arose after the Australian Government – through the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – and the South Korean Government agreed to export certification conditions which provide technical market access for shelled eggs from Australia.

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Amanda Hodges, Austrade’s Seoul-based senior trade commissioner for Korea and Mongolia, said Korea is applying a temporary zero tariff on imported shelled eggs until 30 June 2017, but requires that all air and sea freight containers of shell eggs are sealed using an Australian Government seal.

"The number of the Australian Government seal must also be included on the certificate," she said.

Hodges said the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has provided two market access advice notices (number 2017-02 and 2017-03) detailing the necessary requirements to assist exporters of fresh eggs to South Korea.

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"From a Korean consumer perspective, Koreans prefer to eat brown shell coloured eggs, rather than white. It is anticipated there may be demand for hatching-eggs and live chicks for breeding at a later date, as Korea seeks to rebuild its laying and breeding stocks," she said.

Hodges also noted that once the tariff returned to normal levels, Australian exporters would still benefit if access is maintained because under the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) the tariff will be reduced over time.

Under normal conditions, the tariff in 2017 would be 21 per cent.

Korea is Australia’s fourth-largest trading partner.

Industry figures suggest that Korea is in need of 180 million eggs per week.

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