Despite incurring diplomatic wrath from China, the South Korean government has voted at a Trade Commission meeting to keep its emergency restrictions on Chinese garlic imports until the end of 2002.

The restrictions were implemented in June last year in a bid to "safeguard" domestic garlic producers, who argued they could not compete with the large quantities of cheaper garlic entering the domestic market. China retaliated by implementing its own trading restrictions on Korean imports of mobile phone accessories and plastics.

The government was mulling lifting the measures, but Korean farmers maintained that they have still not recovered from the effects of the imports, and if the reduced import quotas were removed now, they would suffer economically.

The Korean government has pledged to cover some of the costs of importing a quota of Chinese garlic agreed upon for the next two years.