Kotra aims to increase 2nd-half China exports

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Kotra aims to increase 2nd-half China exports


As Korea recorded sluggish exports to China during the first half of the year, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra) CEO Oh Young-ho said his central goal for the second half is to revive exports to the country by taking advantage of the current increasing economic cooperation between the two nations.

“It is indeed a difficult time for Korea,” said Oh at a press meeting yesterday. “The country saw a 2.5 percent export growth rate in the first half of the year’s exports this year. This is a slight increase year-on-year, so one may think it is a good sign, but in fact this is vastly insufficient to achieve our goal to reach $30,000 gross domestic product and trade size of 2 trillion won.”

Oh explained that Korean exports were strong enough to see a double-digit export growth rate even after the 2009 global financial crisis, at 28.3 percent in 2010 and 19 percent in 2011. He cited the strengthened won and reduced Korean exports to China as two main reasons for the sluggishness of overall exports.

According to Kotra data yesterday, Korean exports to China recorded a minus 0.1 percent growth rate during the first half of this year, plunging to the worst level for the first time since 2012. The rate stayed low at 0.1 percent in 2012 but rebounded to 8.6 percent last year.

Kim Seong-soo, Kotra’s executive vice president for business information and trade, added that this is a crucial problem for Korea’s overall economy because exports to China account for about 26.3 percent of the country’s entire exports. This is larger than the total exports to three major markets: the United States, Japan and the European Union.

Kim explained that this is largely due to a change in China’s internal economic policy, which shifted from being centered on exports to focusing on the domestic economy. He said that China also has a production surplus of stronghold export items from Korea like petrochemicals, steel and LCD displays.

To increase exports to China, Kotra said it will start new trade and investment support projects, particularly with Chinese conglomerates for small Korean businesses to shift their target from Korean conglomerate branches in China to local businesses. To bring the two sides together, Kotra will hold consulting sessions and networking events in the second half of the year.

BY kIM jI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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