Korea Mimics US and Boosts Trade
Korea will set up chambers of commerce in 10 countries to support companies doing business in overseas markets and protect their interests, the government said on Thursday. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy unveiled the plan to create the Korean version of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea in 10 major countries to help Korean businesses air their concerns and have their demands heard.
The news comes with news of a year-on-year growth of 7.1 per cent in total exports for Korea. Korean Ministry of Trade, Energy and Industry statistics show that total exports were US$48.1 billion in December, while imports were US$44.4 billion with year-on-year growth of 3.0 per cent. The trade surplus was US$3.7 billion. Exports grew significantly year-on-year in December, fueled by the global economic recovery and the higher number of working days (1.5 days). Imports as well as exports are growing, and a trade surplus has been recorded for 23 consecutive months.
Export growth rates by item show ships: 50.3 per cent, semiconductors 20.0 per cent, cars 13.2 per cent, petrochemicals 7.5 per cent, general machinery 3.1 per cent, steel -0.1 per cent, mobile devices -3.1 per cent, LCD -16.9 per cent and petroleum products -21.0 per cent.
Of five major import items, petroleum products and steel imports grew, while crude oil and gas imports decreased.
Korea recorded a trade surplus of US$44.2 billion in 2013, thanks to exports of US$559.7 billion that showed year-on-year growth of 2.2 per cent and imports of USD 515.5 billion that showed a year-on-year decrease of 0.8 per cent. Exports to China have been robust, while exports to the US and the EU have been improved thanks to the economic recovery. However, exports to ASEAN countries including Indonesia are decreasing. Exports of mobile devices, semiconductors and home appliances are continuously growing, exports of ships (delivery of ships with high added value) and cars (global demand growth) showed improvement in the second half.
As the global economy recovers, exports of most items are expected to grow. In particular, higher export growth rates are expected for ships, mobile devices and cars.