Outbound shipments of locally produced drugs, medical equipment and cosmetics were valued at $5.41 billion in the January-June period, up 13.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Exports of cosmetics products surged 20 percent on-year, the data showed, followed by medical equipment, which grew 11.7 percent, and drugs, with 6.9 percent growth.
The ministry attributed the increase to the continued popularity of South Korean makeup products overseas, notably in China, despite Beijing's recent movement to restrict imports from South Korea in retaliation against Seoul's plan to deploy the US-led missile defense system, or THAAD.
China is the biggest buyer of South Korean beauty products, with the country accounting for $820 million of exports during the cited period, followed by Hong Kong, the United States and Japan, the latest data showed.
South Korea has recently completed the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system in a "tentative" step to counter missile threats from North Korea.
The ministry attributed the jump of medicine exports to increased outbound shipments of local biosimilars to European countries.
Biosimilars are officially approved copycat medicines developed after patents for the original biopharmaceuticals have expired.
The United States was the biggest buyer of South Korean-made medicines, followed by Japan and China, the ministry said. The outbound shipments of South Korean drugs to the US surpassed $120 million during the first half of this year. (Yonhap)