The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) of Korea and the Korea Customs Service conducted a preliminary evaluation as of 2:20 pm on December 14 and found that Korea successfully re-entered US$1 trillion in trade territory in three years. Korea stood sixth in world export up two notches from last year and its share of world trade is expected to reach 3% for the first time.
The MOTIE explained that this year, Korea ramped up its exports while breaking through US$500 billion in exports on November 17, fastest ever since the commencement of trade statistics in 1956 and this fact greatly contributed to Korean exports’ return to one trillion US dollars in trade.
Korea's annual exports totaled US$524.8 billion, an all-time high in November, up 16.5% year on year. As of last year, there were nine countries which recorded US$1 trillion or more in trade. They were Korea, the USA (US$3 trillion) and China (US$3 trillion), Germany (US$2 trillion), Japan, France, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and the UK.
This year, Korea ranked first in the growth of trade with a growth rate of 18.5% and sixth (8th in 2016) in cumulative exports among the world's 10 largest exporters from January to September. The MOTIE also said that the share of Korea in world trade hit 3.3% as of the end of September, up from 2.8% in 2016 and expected the share to reach 3% for the first time this year. The proportion of exports also reached a record high of 3.6% in the same period.
The MOTIE cited the diversification of exports, high value added, even growth by items and regions, and the growth of exports to newly emerging markets as major factors for Corporate Korea’s return to the US$1 trillion in trade club. As of the end of November this year, the percentage of Korea’s cumulative exports of 13 major products such as semiconductors, general machinery, petrochemicals, petroleum products and computers fell from 80.6% in 2014 to 78.3% by 2.3 percentage points this year. In contrast, that of eight new industries such as system semiconductors, next-generation displays, electric cars, and new and renewable energy industries climbed from 8.4% to 12.6%.
Among the current main export items, general machinery reached a record high of US$ 44.1 billion, ranking second in world machinery exports and petrochemical exports grew more than 14% to all 10 major regions including China, the US and the EU. Exports by items grew evenly as media and communications processors (MCPs) rose to second place after DRAMs in terms of the proportions of semiconductor exports.
By region, exports increased to nine major regions including China, the ASEAN, the US, the European Union, Vietnam, Latin America, Japan and India, excluding the Middle East. Exports to the US and China account for 36.5 percent of the total exports in 2014, down from 37.6 percent in 2014. In addition, exports to the ASEAN region grew 19.4 percent year on year to US$157.59 billion this year.