Electronic devices top FTA exports to China

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Electronic devices top FTA exports to China

The volume and value of Korean goods exported to China in the first 100 days since the Free Trade Agreement was signed has increased, a report by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) said on Sunday.

Products that are subject to tariff cuts of 3 to 6 percentage points, such as electronic devices, metal working machines, aluminum and apparel, saw significant growth in exports, the report said. A total of 344 export goods benefited from the bilateral trade pact.

Electronic devices saw a huge 97.6 percent surge in exports in January and February, according to the report. Exports of metal working machines rose 29.9 percent.

Some 176 products subject to a 0 to 1 percentage point in tariff cuts also saw increases in exports.

The Korea-China FTA took effect on Dec. 20. The China trade deal eliminates tariffs on $73 billion in Korea’s exports to China and $42 billion of its imports from the country.

Tariffs on a total of 958 Korean products, including sulfur, have been eliminated. Aerospace fuel and high-frequency medical equipment are major export products expected to benefit from the immediate tariff lifting. From Jan. 1, a total of 5,779 products are now subject to tariff reductions.

Korea’s exports to China stood at $18.1 billion as of February, down 17.6 percent from the same period last year. Import from the country posted $12.9 billion, also down 14.6 percent. Korea’s total exports have been on the decline for 14 months in a row amid the prolonged global slowdown.

Despite the fall in exports, Korean products accounted for 11.3 percent of the total Chinese import market, with the largest share taken by Korean goods, the institution said.

About 45 percent of 495 exporters surveyed by the institution said their exports are recovering owing to the FTA. About 52 percent responded that they are already tapping into the deal or planning to do so in the near future.

Small exporters are more positive about the effectiveness of the trade pact with about 46 percent saying they expect their exports to recover this year, compared to 28 percent of conglomerates that participated in the survey.

“Although it feels a bit too early to assess the achievement of the Korea-China FTA, there are high expectations among traders,” said Min Kyung-sil, a researcher at the Institute of International Trade at KITA.

BY SONG SU-HYUN [song.suhyun@joongang.co.kr]


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