The Korea Herald


Korea’s agricultural exports to China rebound amid THAAD row thaw

By Julie Kim Jackson

Published : Dec. 7, 2017 - 16:36

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South Korea’s exports of agricultural products to China showed signs of rebounding last month, following the announcement that South Korea and China had decided to begin normalizing bilateral relations in October.

According to the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade on Thursday, exports of agricultural and livestock products to China -- excluding marine products -- reached roughly $165 million in November. The figure marks a 4.1 percent increase compared to the same month last year.

In addition to rocky bilateral relations caused by Korea’s deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, exports of agricultural products to China dropped 17.4 percent on-year in October, following a 10-day long Chuseok holiday.

Since the beginning of the year, China‘s trade retaliation hit a massive blow to Korea’s mass exports of agri-food products. Although local trade experts forecast these exports to China will continue to grow until the end of the year, this year’s total agricultural exports are not expected to exceed $1.97 billion. From January to November this year, agri-food exports reached $896.2 million, down 9.8 percent from the same period last year

Since Seoul announced its intent to deploy THAAD on its soil in July last year, Beijing unofficially took retaliatory actions against the Korean economy by banning travel packages to the peninsula as well as encouraging its citizens not to purchase Korean products.

According to data released by the Bank of Korea earlier this month, Korea’s current account balance in the service sector hit a record low in October, partly attributable to the significant drop in the number of Chinese tourists.

The services account deficit in October slumped to a record $3.53 billion from the $1.79 billion deficit a year earlier.

However, Seoul and Beijing have agreed to make efforts to get bilateral relations back on track, the Foreign Ministry announced at the end of October.

Although the ministry reiterated the two nations still maintain opposing stances regarding the deployment of the US anti-missile system, the government stated both countries have agreed to open discussions on ways to resolve their differences.

Following the government’s announcement of thawing economic and political tensions with China and in time for the year-end holiday season, South Korea’s domestic consumer index hit a near seven-year high last month, according to the central bank.

The country’s composite consumer sentiment index jumped to 112.3 in November, the highest reading since December of 2010, when it hit 112.7.

By Julie Jackson (