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Europe, consumer goods key to export increase

A rise in shipments to European markets will likely boost South Korea's overall exports this year, a local trade agency said Friday, urging local firms to focus on consumer goods and large construction projects in Europe.

Citing a recent survey of 162 South Korean companies and their buyers in Europe, Kim Jae-hong, head of the state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, said the country's exports to Europe were expected to rise 3.8 percent this year, surpassing the 3.4 percent on-year increase in the country's overall outbound shipments.


The meeting, held in Athens, Greece on Thursday (Europe time), was attended by the heads of 23 regional offices in Europe.

"Europe, along with the United States and China, is one of the world's three largest markets for South Korean exports, and a recent survey of 162 Europe-based firms and buyers showed shipments to Europe are expected to grow 3.8 percent from last year in 2017," KOTRA said in a press release.

The 3.8 percent increase will also greatly surpass 1.6 percent economic growth in Europe forecast earlier by the European Union, it noted.

KOTRA stressed the importance of Europe's growing consumer market, along with massive infrastructure projects planned this year.

In 2016, shipments of consumer goods, such as cosmetics, to European countries jumped 8.6 percent on-year to $5.42 billion.

South Korea's overall shipments to European Union countries dropped 2.9 percent last year, the trade ministry said earlier.

"Creating new opportunities by thoroughly examining what is at hand is important, especially when uncertainties are high," KOTRA President Kim was quoted as telling the meeting.

"Europe is one of the three largest markets for our country and the center of the fourth industrial revolution. We must actively use major changes and innovations in the European market to create a breakthrough for our own future growth." (Yonhap)

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