South Korea’s small and mid-sized businesses in some industries are heavily dependent on China for their exports, and are continuing to suffer from Beijing’s trade retaliation for Seoul’s hosting of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile system.
Exports by small businesses to China reached $22.5 billion last year, up 1.9 percent from the previous year, according to the Korea Customs Service and the Small and Medium Business Administration.
While industries exporting parts and materials to China remain unaffected by the THAAD spat for the time being, there were those that were heavily dependent on China, such as fashion apparel businesses whose 81.7 percent of exports headed to China, and cosmetics with 69.3 percent.
In a survey on 300 small and mid-sized firms conducted Jan and Feb. this year, 26.0 percent said they faced tougher trade-related measures with China. SMBA said it will continue to support the firms to diversify their export destinations and operate a task force to help companies cope with Beijing’s measures.