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US could become S. Korea’s top trading partner, replacing ChinaBy Shim Woo-hyun
Published : May 5, 2023 - 15:30
The United States is expected to become South Korea’s top trading partner for the first time in 20 years, replacing China, Korea’s current top export destination, government data showed Friday.
According to the Trade Ministry's latest data, South Korea’s exports to China in April decreased by 26.5 percent on-year to $9.52 billion. The country's exports to the US, on the other hand, reached $9.18 billion.
The gap between South Korea’s exports to China and the US narrowed to just $340 million in April from $1.15 billion in January.
In 2021, South Korea’s exports to the US accounted for only 58 percent of the exports to China. But, Korea’s exports to the US in April 2023 accounted for 96 percent of those to China.
South Korea’s exports to China have been seeing a downward trend since April last year, posting single-digit decreases in the first few months.
Since the country's exports to China decreased by 15.7 percent on-year in October, the figures continued to record double-digit on-year decreases.
On the other hand, South Korea’s exports to the US have been increasing since April last year. Exports of electric vehicles to the US in particular, have jumped, backed by a strong dollar, local researchers said.
“South Korea’s exports value to China have been decreasing mainly due to lower chip prices, while the exports value to the US has been on the rise due to the increased shipment of electric vehicles,” said an official from Korea International Trade Association’s research unit.
In April, South Korea’s exports value of semiconductor products came to $6.3 billion, down 41 percent on-year, whereas the country’s exports value of vehicles came to $6.1 billion, up 40.3 percent on-year.
An official from the Trade Ministry noted that South Korea’s exports to China will likely rebound as China’s economy and memory chip prices recover in the second half the year.
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