SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) — South Korea plans to temporarily remove tariffs on imported corn in an effort to help ease upward pressure on inflation, the finance minister said Wednesday.

The country plans to import edible corn and some grains without tariffs until the end of this year under the quota tariff system, according to Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki. Currently, duties of 3 percent are levied on imported corn.

“There is a limited chance that annual inflation will exceed (the central bank’s target of) 2 percent, but consumer price growth is expected to temporarily pick up in the second quarter,” Hong said at a meeting on the economy.

Hong said the government will additionally import eggs and release reserves of napa cabbage in a bid to help stabilize prices of agricultural and livestock products.

The country’s consumer prices rose 1.5 percent on-year in March, the fastest gain in 14 months, on higher prices of farm and oil products.

The country’s inflation remained subdued last year due to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But consumer prices are under upward pressure as the Korean economy is on a recovery track, and food and oil prices have recently advanced.

Last month, prices of agricultural, livestock and fisheries products advanced 13.7 percent on-year due to a supply shortage and the outbreak of bird flu. Prices of petroleum products rose 1.3 percent on-year as oil prices picked up.

This file photo, taken March 18, 2021, shows a citizen looking at vegetables at a discount mart in central Seoul amid a sharp gain in prices of farm products. (Yonhap)