S. KOREA TO IMPORT MORE IRON IN 1988

S. KOREA TO IMPORT MORE IRON IN 1988

Pig and scrap iron imports from China and the Soviet Union are expected to increase sharply this year, industry officials said Friday.

The officials said China and the Soviet Union have recently emerged as major suppliers of pig and scrap iron under a government plan to diversify import sources and encourage trade with communist nations.South Korea, the officials said, purchased 240,000 metric tons of pig iron

from China last year, or 41 percent of its total imports.

Comparable previous figures were not available, but the officials said pig iron imports from China would further increase, probably reaching 300,000 metric tons this year.

China's pig iron is relatively good in quality but low in price, making the communist country South Korea's No. 1 supplier of the raw material, the officials said.

China also offers competitive prices for scrap iron but its quality is inferior to that from the United States and Japan, which currently remain as South Korea's principal import sources, they said.

The Soviet Union sold 120,000 tons of scrap iron to South Korea last year, or only 3.6 percent of the total Korean imports, but the amount is expected to increase considerably this year, the officials said.