The World Trade Organization (WTO) announced on July 21 that only China and the United States among the world’s top 10 exporting countries showed a year-on-year increase in goods exports for the first four months of this year. The largest and second-largest exporters’ exports totaled US$744.511 billion (up 0.2 percent) and US$543.627 billion (up 0.5 percent), respectively.
Among the other eight, South Korea, the seventh-largest exporting country in the world, showed the steepest decline. Specifically, its exports fell 6.9 percent to US$181.485 billion. Germany, the third-largest, posted a decline of 6.4 percent. Japan’s exports fell 5.6 percent and the Netherlands’ exports fell 2.1 percent to US$236.371 billion. Japan fell one notch to fifth and the Netherlands rose one notch to fourth.
For the first five months of this year, South Korea’s goods exports dropped 7.4 percent and those of Japan and Hong Kong fell 6.3 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.
“East Asian countries’ exports are taking a direct hit from the U.S.-China trade war and a decline in the number of new orders in the global electronics industry,” market research firm IHS Markit explained, adding, “Besides, escalating trade tensions between South Korea and Japan are emerging as a new downward risk factor in the Asia-Pacific region.”