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Korea, Republic of


The Republic of Korea exported a total of 4,313 products to 221 countries in 2016, with a total value of US$ 495.4 billion. In contrast, Korea imported a total of 4,510 products from 228 countries. Total imports amounted to US$ 406.2 billion.

Machineries and electronics consisted much of the exports and imports at 38.5 percent and 28.3 percent, respectively. Transportation (19.8 percent) was the second largest export sector of Korea, followed by metals (8.5 percent), chemicals (7.3 percent), plastic or rubber (7.0 percent), fuels (5.6 percent), and miscellaneous products (6.7 percent). Conversely, fuels seconded at 20.1 percent for imports, followed by metals (8.7 percent), chemicals (8.7 percent), transportation (5.3 percent), and miscellaneous products (7.6 percent).

In terms of stages of processing, capital goods made up most of Koreas exports and imports at 54.1 percent and 34.2 percent, respectively. Export of intermediate goods (22.8 percent) was a little higher compared to imports (20.6 percent), while export of consumer goods (22.5 percent) was a little lower than import (23.4 percent). Koreas export and import of raw materials displayed the most significantly large difference at 0.68 percent and 21.7 percent, respectively, which could mean that the country depended much of its production on imports.

Meanwhile, service imports, in terms of balance of payments, amounted to US$ 110.4 billion, while service exports amounted to US$ 92.8 billion. In total, goods and services exports comprised 42.2 percent of GDP, while imports comprised 25.4 percent of GDP.

The top markets of Korean products include China (25.1 percent), USA (13.5 percent), Hong Kong (6.6 percent), Vietnam (6.6 percent), and Japan (4.9 percent). Korean imports were from China (21.4 percent), Japan (11.7 percent), USA (10.7 percent), Germany (4.7 percent), and other Asia, nes (4.0 percent) in 2016.


As of 2017, Koreas FDI inflow displayed an increase of 40.9 percent from US$ 12.1 billion in 2016 to US$ 17.1 billion. The FDI stock also increased from US$ 188.9 billion to US$ 230.6 billion (22.1 percent increase).

Most of Koreas FDI inflows were from USA (35.0 percent), Cayman Islands (11.4 percent), Hong Kong (6.8 percent), China (6.8 percent), Vietnam (4.5 percent), and much lower from Luxembourg (3.6 percent), Ireland (3.5 percent), UK (2.5 percent), Singapore (2.3 percent), and Japan (1.9 percent).

Financial and insurance made up most of the investments at 31.2 percent, followed by wholesale and retail trade (21.9 percent), manufacturing (17.9 percent), real estate (8.2 percent), information and communication (5.3 percent), mining and quarrying (3.7 percent), and transportation and storage (3.1 percent).


https://wits.worldbank.org/countrysnapshot/en/KOR (Accessed on 29 October 2018)

https://en.portal.santandertrade.com/establish-overseas/south-korea/foreign-investment (Accessed on 29 October 2018)

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