South Korea to import 200 tonnes of urea from Vietnam due to supply shortage

SEOUL, Nov. 08 (Yonhap) – South Korea on Monday announced that it plans to import 200 tonnes of urea from Vietnam next week as part of the latest move to help alleviate a shortage of urea water, a key material used in diesel vehicles to reduce emissions.

The amount is part of 10,000 tonnes of urea that South Korea hopes to import from Vietnam and other countries to make a urea water solution, according to the finance ministry.

In addition, South Korea is expected to import 27,000 liters of urea-water solution from Australia, including 20,000 liters scheduled for this week.

The move came as President Moon Jae-in ordered his aides to “make the greatest diplomatic effort to obtain” a solution of urea water from foreign countries.

To help facilitate imports, the government plans to reduce import tariffs on the material to zero from the current 5-6.5%.

South Korea grapples with a shortage of urea water solution, known as diesel exhaust fluid, and its soaring prices in recent weeks as China tightens fertilizer exports and related materials, including urea, in October amid an electrical crisis caused by a coal supply shortage. Coal is the main raw material for urea.

South Korea relies heavily on China for its supply of urea-water solution, as 97.6% of its imports came from China in the first nine months of this year.

The number of diesel vehicles is estimated at around 10 million, or about 38% of cars registered in South Korea.

Among them, 4 million diesel cars, including 2 million freight trucks, are to install equipment requiring the use of a urea solution to reduce emissions under the country’s tightened emission rules adopted in 2015.

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