January 02, 2018 10:02
The government has set this year's export growth target at just a quarter of the 2017 achievement, which marked a record high. The reason is the strengthening won, which makes Korean products more expensive overseas, and the spread of protectionist trade policies.
Trade Minister Paik Un-gyu on Monday said exports rose 15.8 percent in 2017 to US$573.9 billion but added that the 2018 target is up only four percent.
"Downside risks for Korea are the won's strength, rising interest rates and oil prices. They are the new three risks," Paik said. They also include increasing trade pressure from the Trump administration and China's unofficial boycott.
Korea's export dependence on semiconductors rose from 12.6 percent in 2016 to 17 percent last year. That means even a slight slowdown in semiconductor exports could cause Korea's total shipment volume to take a hit.
Heo Yoon at Sogang University said, "The Korean economy has been supported solely by exports, so the government urgently needs to come up with measures to deal with a slowdown."
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