Lotte Corp said on Monday [6 November 2017] that a major property development in China had received approval from local authorities to start a second phase of construction – the latest sign that tension between China and South Korea is easing. The announcement comes one week after an unexpected detente between the two countries, which have been at odds over the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea. And Lotte has been among the hardest hit by the political tension…Full Article: Nov 2017

Key Point

  • On 31 October 2017, China and South Korea agreed to a détente and improve relations. However, a Lotte construction project in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, has remained suspended. In addition, the bulk of Lotte’s Chinese-based supermarkets have been shuttered.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In September 2017, South Korea’s Lotte Group began the process to sell its China-based retail stores. In total, 87 out of Lotte Mart’s 112 stores in China have been closed for more than six months. During the same month, South Korean exports of beer, ginseng, and ramen (noodles), to China increased 105%, 66%, and 48% vis-à-vis September 2016, respectively. However, from January to September 2017, overall agro-food exports to China totaled USD 700 million, a -9.9% year-on-year decline.
  • In August 2017, South Korea’s Lotte Group borrowed USD 300 million to finance Lotte Mart China. It was the second such loan, with the first occurring in March 2017. At the time, Lotte Mart China had 12 active stores, 14 voluntary suspended stores, and 74 closed stores.
  • In March 2017, the THAAD system arrived in South Korea. Shortly after Dayaowan (Port of Dalian) officials returned 18 food products (~2.1 MTs, worth US$8,789) to South Korea. Officials also destroyed a separate shipment of imported baked fish products over the use of additives. Meanwhile in Beijing, the Korean-style barbecue restaurant chain, Quanjincheng, announced that they would not sell Lotte (South Korean) products such wine and beverages.
  • In July 2016, USA and South Korea agreed to deploy the USA’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea as a deterrent to North Korea.

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