Korea's trade volume reached US$1.07 trillion in 2012, overtaking Italy's $986.9 billion and rising by one notch from ninth to eighth place, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said on Monday citing WTO statistics.
Although its total trade volume dwindled by 1.1 percent, Korea climbed to eighth spot, while Italy's shrank 8.7 percent.
Korea rose to 13th place in 2002 and to ninth in 2010.
The U.S. kept the top spot with $3.89 trillion, slightly ahead of China's $3.87 trillion, but the gap between them narrowed from $1.21 trillion in 2005 to just $15.6 billion last year.
Next came Germany with $2.58 trillion and Japan with $1.68 trillion, followed by the Netherlands, France and the U.K.
Although trade volumes of European nations shrank in the wake of the European financial crisis, the U.S.' and China's still grew by 3.6 percent and 6.2 percent.