December 02, 2011 09:16
Exports rose 20.5 percent so far this year compared to 2010, reaching $508.7 billion, while imports rose 24.3 percent to $478.9 billion, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said Thursday. Korea is the eighth country in the world to see annual exports over $500 billion and ranks seventh as of September in terms of outbound shipments.
In 1948, Korea's exports were 0.3 percent of the U.K.’s ($6.6 billion) and 2 percent of Italy's ($1.07 billion), but now it has overtaken both of them. Korea's total trade volume, which combines the amount of exports and imports, stood at $987.6 billion and is expected to exceed $1 trillion next week, making it the ninth country to achieve that feat.
The other countries with more than $500 billion in exports are the U.S., Germany, China, Japan, France, the Netherlands and Italy. It took them an average of 20.1 years to boost their exports from $100 billion to $500 billion, but Korea took just 16 years. Korea reached the milestone even though its economy was impacted by the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the global financial crisis in 2008.
Korea's exports rose 22.9 percent during the first nine months of this year, the fastest rate of increase among the world's top 10 exporters and beating both China (22 percent) and Germany (21.7 percent).
The industries that played the biggest roles were shipbuilding, petroleum products, semiconductors and petrochemicals. Ministry official Han Jin-hyun said, "Exports are expected to continue to grow in December due to the year-end sales spurt. We expect to see trade volume surpass the $1 trillion mark on Monday or Tuesday."
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