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Trade volume between Korea and U.S. marks record high in 2018 Updated: 2019-03-15 05:04:12 KST

It's been seven years since Seoul and Washington's free trade deal came into force.

And according to Korea's trade ministry on Thursday, the trade volume between the two sides last year hit a record high of around 131.6 billion U.S. dollars.
This is an increase of more than 10-percent compared to the previous year and the trade volume has been increasing for two consecutive years.

Korea's exports to the U.S. rose by 6-percent in 2018thanks to more outbound shipments of semiconductors and petroleum goods.
Chip exports jumped by more than 90-percent thanks to more investment from data centers boosting demand for semiconductors.
However, auto exports decreased by almost 7-percent due to an increase in competition in the U.S. market.

Korea's imports from the U.S. also grew by more than 16-percent mainly due to more inbound shipments of liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas.
LPG shipments from the U.S. increased by more than 50-percent compared to the previous year.
The ministry attributed the rise in shipments from the U.S. to cheaper prices compared to other regions like the Middle East.

Because of the increase in imports, the trade surplus decreased by almost 23-percent compared to the previous year.
Experts in the field say the trend is likely to continue.

"The U.S. is trying reduce its trade deficit. Therefore, many other countries including Korea will try to decrease the size of their surplus when trading with the U.S.
Also, I think it is important to closely monitor Washington's decision in regards to the Section 232 tariffs on automobiles and automotive parts."

"Trade protectionist measures by the U.S. will continue. So it is important for Korean companies to prepare for those. Also, we should remember that the Trump administration is focusing on protecting intellectual property rights. Therefore, local firms should not infringe on other countries' rights, and at the same time should come up with measures to protect their own rights."

The trade ministry added that the effects of the revised Seoul-Washington free trade agreement which came into force in January will be reflected in next year's data.
Ko Roon-hee, Arirang News.
Reporter : krh@arirang.com
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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