Policy Picks: Japan's fishery policy, Indonesia's palm oil export ban, South Korea's express customs clearance and more feature in our round-up

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Japan's fishery policy, Indonesia's palm oil export ban, South Korea's express customs clearance and more feature in this edition of Policy Picks. ©Getty Images
Japan's fishery policy, Indonesia's palm oil export ban, South Korea's express customs clearance and more feature in this edition of Policy Picks. ©Getty Images

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Japan's fishery policy, Indonesia's palm oil export ban, South Korea's express customs clearance and more feature in this edition of Policy Picks

Seafood resuscitation: Japan rolls out new fishery policy to revive and industrialise much-challenged sector

The Japanese government has introduced a new national fishery policy to promote efficient industrialisation and revitalisation for the local industry in view of the many challenges the one-prosperous sector has faced over the past several years.

Seafood has historically been one of Japan’s most traditional and treasured protein sources, with the country being famed for dishes made using fish such as salmon and unagi – but in recent years, the trend appears to have been going in the opposite direction, with many of the younger generation’s consumers shunning seafood in favour of chicken or pork.

Palm oil opportunities? Indonesia’s export ban could mean big winnings for Malaysia – but timing is crucial

Indonesia’s palm oil export ban announced earlier this month has left the door open for Malaysia to swoop in and expand its market share – but this will very much depend on contract timings and labour viability, say industry experts.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo surprised the palm oil sector – and indeed the entire F&B sector – earlier this month when he announced a total export ban on all palm oil, both crude and refined/processed, out of the country to tackle local price hikes.

“The Indonesian people’s need for affordable food takes precedence over revenue and economic concerns right now – once domestic needs have been met, I will of course lift the export ban,”​ Widodo said via a formal statement.

Expediting imports: South Korea introduces year-round express customs clearance for food firms

Introduction:South Korea has introduced two major new import policies for food and beverage firms looking to sell in the country – a year-round express customs clearance application system and a new ‘Use By’ date labelling requirement for all food and beverage imports.

South Korea has been launching a slew of initiatives to upgrade its food imports system, from making it mandatory since 2020 for all foreign food and beverage companies exporting into the country to have HACCP certification, to expanding its food safety and monitoring guidelines earlier this year to cover direct purchases made by consumers overseas, implicating e-commerce items as well.

Amidst all of this, one piece of good news has emerged for importing firms whereby the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) has now removed the time restrictions for foreign firms to apply for its express customs clearance, which significantly reduces time wasted at the South Korean border for products.

“MFDS has decided to expand the application period for South Korea’s Planned Import Expedited Customs Clearance System, which will allow for fast customs clearance immediately after import declaration,”​ MFDS Minister Kim Kang-lip said via a formal statement.

Securing Singapore? Scale of city state’s food security 2030 challenge underlined by new data

The scale of Singapore’s challenge to achieve 30% food self-sufficiency by 2030 has been underlined by new data released by the city state’s national food agency.

According to the inaugural Singapore Food Statistics 2021​ by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), Singapore is currently producing 4% of vegetables, 8% of seafood and 30% of hen shell eggs domestically. It has ambitions to achieve an overall domestic production target of 30% by 2030 (also known as the ‘30 by 30’ target).

Based on these figures, chapter two of the report suggested a two-pronged approach to remedy the situation domestically – optimising the space available for the agri-food industry and providing more funds to boost production capabilities and capacities through R&D and tech adoption.

“Food security is an existential issue for Singapore. Today’s fast-evolving and complex operating landscape have accentuated Singapore’s vulnerability in food safety and security,"​ stated the report.

Tax attack? Aussie beverage sector fights back against government threat of price hikes

The Australian beverage sector has hit out at veiled warnings of price increases and tax hikes for soft drinks detailed in the country’s latest obesity strategy, claiming that such policy measures are ineffective.

Trade association Australian Beverages Council Limited (ABCL) says there is little evidence that policies such as sugar taxes work from a public health perspective and insists any economic sanctions would have a detrimental impact on jobs and viability.

It also argues that the report has failed to acknowledge significant reformulation efforts from the industry in recent years.

The recently published National Obesity Strategy 2022-2032​ (NOPS), penned by the Department of Health, made it clear that officials would consider using economic and policy tools to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

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