Trade between S. Korea and US up 10.3% in 2018

Seoul, Mar. 14 (BNA): The trade volume between South Korea and the US shot up 10.3 per cent on-year in 2018 to hit a record high, data showed Thursday, with the world’s top economy beating Japan to take up the second-largest slice of Seoul’s overall imports.

Trade, Industry and Energy Ministry said the amount of goods exchanged between the two countries came to $ 131.6 billion, maintaining robust growth despite the looming protectionism policies around the globe amid concerns surrounding the Washington-Beijing trade dispute, South Korean News Agency (Yonhap) reported.

The figure translates into 11.5 per cent of South Korea’s overall trade in 2018, making the US the second-largest overseas partner. China stood as the No. 1 trading counterpart by accounting for 23.6 per cent of the total last year, the ministry added.

South Korea’s trade with the US continued to grow at a faster pace on-year compared with the average since the free trade agreement went into effect in 2012, with only one exception in 2017, the ministry said.

South Korea’s exports to the North American country rose 6 per cent on-year in 2018 to reach $ 72.7 billion, with chips, petrochemical goods and construction machineries leading the shipments.

Exports of chips shot up 90.6 per cent on-year, led by the expanding investment in data centers by US firms. Shipments of petrochemical goods also increased 15.7 per cent on the back of the increasing price of oil.

Rising construction and facility investment in the US also boosted exports of related machineries, the ministry said.

Exports of cars and mobile devices, however, slid 6.9 per cent and 6.2 per cent, respectively, due to intensified competition. South Korea’s imports from the US jumped 16.2 per cent to reach $ 58.9 billion.

Imports of crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by Asia’s fourth-largest economy from the US shot up 520 per cent and 50.3 per cent, respectively, in 2018 from a year earlier, the ministry said.

The US emerged as the second-largest partner when it comes to South Korea’s imports, exceeding Japan’s 10.2 per cent. In 2017, Japan was the second-largest trading partner with a share of 11.5 per cent. In that year, the number for the US stood at 10.6 per cent.

South Korea invested $ 12.6 billion in 2018, down 7.6 per cent on-year. The ministry explained the decrease was due to the base effect of major merger projects in 2016 and 2017.

South Korea attracted $ 5.88 billion in investment from the US in 2018, up 24.8 per cent on-year to reach a record high.

US companies continued to make investments in traditional mainstay segments, such as machineries and chemicals, and set their eyes on emerging areas, including biotechnology and online commerce, the ministry said.


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