Country’s top 10 exports dwindling steadily

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Country’s top 10 exports dwindling steadily

The global market share of Korea’s 10 major export items has cumulatively decreased over the years, a sign that the country needs a new growth engine fast, the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI) said Thursday.

The top 10 items examined included automobiles, telecommunication devices and steel, and were chosen according to Standard International Trade Classification, a classification of import and export goods used to compare data by countries and years, based on 2014 trade results.

Their cumulative global market share fell 2.7 percentage points from 48.3 percent in 2011 to 45.6 percent in 2014. During the same period, the United States and Japan also saw drops, but smaller than Korea’s. China’s cumulative market share increased 0.9 percentage points from 39.6 percent in 2011 to 40.5 in 2014.

The big concern is that Korea is overly dependent on exports, and particularly its major export items, despite their decline. In 2014, these 10 items accounted for 75.5 percent of Korea’s total exports, while in other countries, the top 10 items accounted for less: 55.4 percent in the United States and 67.8 percent in China.

“Basically, there hasn’t been much change in the nation’s top 10 export items for quite a long time, which means we are out of future growth engines,” said Byun Yang-gyu, director of macro research at KERI.

From 2008, there was only a single change in the top 10 list, which was office machines and automatic data processing units being replaced by industrial machines and equipment.

Items below the top 20 rank were also shown to be very weak in Korea. In the United States, exports of items below the top 20 rank account for 24 percent of total exports. In Korea, that figure is only 8 percent, according to KERI.

“The country is in need of diverse measures, such as regulatory reform, to foster new export engines,” Byun said.


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