Exports have benefited from FTAs with EU, U.S.

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Exports have benefited from FTAs with EU, U.S.

Free trade deals with the United States and the European Union have helped support Korea’s exports, making up for declining overseas sales of the country’s goods affected by the prolonged global economic slump, customs data showed yesterday.

Korea implemented free trade agreements with the U.S. and the EU in March of this year and July of last year, respectively.

The worldwide economic slump led to a drop or relatively small growth in exports to those markets but sales of products benefiting from lower tariffs remained strong.

According to a report by the Korea Customs Service (KCS), total exports to the EU came to $67.21 billion in the 16 months since the FTA with the region went into effect. That is a 10.2 percent decline from the same period before the pact took effect.

However, exports of products benefiting from tariff reductions rose 10.9 percent over the same period. In particular, exports of automobiles, car components and oil products increased 15.2 percent, 6.6 percent and 17 percent, respectively, suggesting the FTA is helping to boost bilateral trade with one of the world’s largest economic blocs.

A similar trend is holding true with the U.S. The report showed that exports to the U.S. amounted to $37.3 billion from March 15 when the FTA went into effect until late October, up 2.1 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Exports of products benefiting from the FTA, however, fared better by growing 12.9 percent. Automobiles, oil and rubber products saw their sales in the world’s largest economy grow 15 percent, 8 percent and 14 percent, respectively, the report showed.
“Consumers in those areas also seek cheaper products, which makes products enjoying tariff reductions more popular,” a KCS official said. “This trend is likely to continue.”

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