|Employees from the Korea International Trade Association celebrate Trade Day, which falls on Thursday, in front of the World Trade Center in Samseong-dong, Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap News)|
Korea’s trade volume this year will once again exceed $1 trillion for three consecutive years despite persistent negative factors in the global market, officials said Wednesday.
The country will attain the $1 trillion line on Friday, while its total amount is estimated to be about $1.08 trillion by year-end, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Korea International Trade Association.
The nation is also to become the world’s seventh-largest exporting country for four consecutive years, with an expected total volume of around $560 billion, up 2.6 percent from last year.
Korea thus not only topped its own record of $555 billion set in 2011 but also achieved one of its steepest export growth records, according to officials.
“Back in 1964, we celebrated our first-ever $100 million export volume,” said Kwon Pyeong-oh, the ministry’s trade investment director. “Fifty years after that day, we now witness growth 5,600 times that size, which is a rare example of growth in world history.”
Korea’s export performance is largely attributable to the information technology sector, which has seen a visible rise both in volume and in unit price, according to Shin Seung-gwan, trend analysis director of KITA’s Institute for International Trade.
“In addition to conventional champion items, such as home electronic goods and mobile phones, the applied electronic apparatus such as fire alarms and burglar alarms put up a good fight in the export market,” he explained.
Nonetheless, the country had to weather the sharp drop in exports to Japan, triggered by the weakened yen, and a stagnating Middle Eastern market as well as the persistent slump in the European market.
KITA chairman Han Duck-soo also warned that the so-called Abenomics could continue to affect the global economy.
“Japanese companies generally laid low this year, keeping watch on whether the weak yen would continue to prevail,” Han said.
“In the new year, however, they may choose to take bold action, which may inflict additional threats to Korea’s export industry.”
Fortunately, the global economy is expected to take an upturn next year, with signs of recovery detected in the U.S. and China market, according to the KITA.
“The trade surplus next year may decrease from this year’s $44 billion to $33 billion, but this would be more because of the increase of imports, rather than the downsizing of trade in general,” Shin explained.
By Bae Hyun-jung (firstname.lastname@example.org)