In 2021, Korea's annual exports reached an all-time high of USD 644.4 billion. Analysts say that Korea has responded timely to the expansion of global demand for Korea's major industries such as semiconductors and petrochemicals. In addition, Korea's open business environment is the other factor of the all-time high exports. Korea's excellent logistics infrastructure and wide FTA network led Korean companies to have smooth exchanges with global companies despite the COVID-19 situation.
Korea is the 7th largest exporter in the world (Oct. 2021, IMF). Exports from Korea are led by the manufacturing industry, and major items of export include semiconductors, automobiles, automobile parts, oil products, and displays. In 2021, Korea's exports reached USD 644.4 billion, far exceeding the previous high (USD 604.9 billion in 2018). Exports of 15 major items, including semiconductors, petrochemicals, and automobiles, all increased by more than 10 percent, while exports to nine major regions, including China, ASEAN, the United States, and the EU, all increased.
Korea has signed 21 agreements, covering 58 countries (as of Dec. 2021) which include major economies like the EU, the US, and China, while continuing to pursue FTAs with emerging countries. With its geographical advantage, Korea is a gateway to the global markets that links most of the largest economies. As of December 2021, Korea's FTA network covers 85 percent of global GDP.
The Center of East Asia, Logistics Hub
Other than the vast FTA networks, Korea also has one of the best logistics infrastructures in the world. Korea possesses optimal logistics infrastructure connecting it with major countries and cities around the world. Located between China and Japan, Korea is the center of aviation and maritime logistics, connecting the Asia-Pacific region as well as Eurasia and the Americas. Furthermore, Korea has the potential to establish a land-based route penetrating the Eurasian continent.
**This article is extracted from Invest KOREA Magazine April, 2022.