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S. Korea settles 53 non-tariff trade barriers in 2020

South Korea's trade ministry said Tuesday it has settled 53 cases of non-tariff trade barriers that had direct impacts on local exporters in 2020.

Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) operated 3,354 technical barriers to trade (TBT) in 2020, up 30 percent from 2016, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. Of them, 131 cases had adverse impacts on local exports.

TBTs, which include consumer safety standards, energy and environmental requirements, are often used as non-tariff restrictions on exports.

"By settling TBTs with trade partners for 53 companies, we were able to cut certification costs for exporters, which beefed up their competitiveness as well," the ministry said in a statement.

For example, the ministry said South Korea was able to ship 9.9 billion won ($8.89 million) worth of clothes dryers to Saudi Arabia by having the Middle East country reflect local exporters' demands in their energy-efficiency regulations.

"Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainties in the global trading environment have been escalating. The trade tension between the US and China also made it important for the government and businesses to join forces to cope with TBTs," the ministry added.

In 2020, the country's outbound shipments came to $512.8 billion, down 5.4 percent from 2019.

South Korea's exports, however, jumped 41.1 percent in April on-year, the highest growth in around 10 years, as demand for chips and automobiles stayed strong amid the improving global economy. (Yonhap)