Vice finance minister vows all-out efforts to tame inflation

First Vice Finance Minister Kim Byoung-hwan on Friday pledged to make all-out efforts to tame inflation, particularly in food prices, by announcing a plan to release reserves of agricultural products and utilize the tariff rate quota system. "The government plans to spare no effort to stabilize inflation, a key indicator of people's livelihoods, so that people can promptly feel the signs of the economic recovery shown in the data," Kim told a meeting with economy-related vice ministers. South Korea's inflation rose 2.9 percent in April on-year, marking the first time in three months that the index fell below 3 percent. But prices of agricultural, livestock and fishery products rose 10.6 percent over the period. In line with the efforts to tame inflation, the finance ministry said the government plans to release 110 tons of napa cabbage and 80 tons of radishes this month to stabilize the prices. The finance ministry also said the country will secure 35,000 tons of imported fruits, such as bananas and kiwi s, by June. Starting Friday, the government adopted the tariff-rate quota system on imports of seven key agricultural items as well, including napa cabbages, carrots, grapes and dried seaweed. The tariff rate quota system is one under which products are imported with favorable duty conditions within a designated volume. During the meeting, Kim said it was nevertheless notable that South Korea reported a current account surplus for the 11th straight month in March by posting a surplus of US$6.9 billion. Source: Yonhap News Agency