Despite bans, Korea’s exports to China jump

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Despite bans, Korea’s exports to China jump

Even though the Chinese government’s retaliation against Korea’s decision to deploy a U.S. missile defense system is growing, recent government data showed that Korea’s exports to its neighbor, in fact, jumped more than 16 percent year on year during the first 20 days of the month.

The Korea Customs Service said on Tuesday that Korea’s exports to China rose 16.4 percent year on year. During the same period, exports to Vietnam jumped 43.5 percent and those to Japan rose 7.8 percent.

Overall exports rose 14.6 percent year on year to $27.3 billion from March 1-20 and it appears that the country’s exports will rise for a fifth consecutive month.

In the same period, exports of petroleum products jumped 62.2 percent year on year while semiconductors rose 42.5 percent, the Trade Ministry said. Exports to the United States dropped 6 percent and exports for European countries fell 11.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the Korean government said it has reported to the World Trade Organization the Chinese government’s apparent economic retaliations against its decision to deploy a U.S. missile defense system in the country.

In the past few months, the Chinese government has imposed trade restrictions in the tourism and retail sectors in apparent retaliations against the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or Thaad.

The Korean government has been criticized for being too passive in the matter, as it repeatedly said it didn’t have specific evidence to show that the retaliations are due to the deployment. Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho has said that he is aware of the problem but that it is hard to take action.

“There are no changes to our principles that we will actively react to the Chinese government in various ways, including reporting the problems to the World Trade Organization,” Yoo said last week, “but it is hard for us to do so right now since the Chinese government didn’t say they are taking action due to the deployment.”

Government officials also warned that Chinese retaliation against Korean companies will likely grow.

China has ordered Lotte Mart to stop operating its 67 branches in China and ordered its citizens not to travel to Korea in groups.

Chinese government officials are conducting inspections on antidumping cases of Korean products, while strengthening import regulations on Korean cosmetics and food products.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]

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