Korea is expected to rank among the world's top eight exporting nations for the first time ever. According to a report released Tuesday by the Institute for International Trade, the nation is on track to become the world's seventh or eighth largest exporter in 2010, edging up from ninth last year.
According to the World Trade Organization, Korea ranked seventh in the first half of this year with exports of US$221.5 billion. China topped the list with $705.1 billion, followed by the U.S. ($611.7 billion), Germany ($605.1 billion), Japan ($362.3 billion), the Netherlands ($274.2 billion), and France ($255.9 billion). Italy came in eighth with $213.8 billion, and Belgium ninth with $201.3 billion.
Among major exporters, only Korea and China saw their exports surpass the levels seen prior to the global economic downturn, the IIT report said. Korea's outbound shipments increased 3.5 percent in the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2008. In contrast, Italy and Belgium, whose exports are around the same size as Korea's, posted declines of over 20 percent.