Trade balance is in surplus with FTA partners

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Trade balance is in surplus with FTA partners

Korea enjoyed a surplus of $71.5 billion in trade with FTA partners in 2019, data showed Thursday.

The country suffered a deficit of $32.4 billion from trade with non-FTA partners, according to the data compiled by the Korea Customs Service. Last year, Korea posted a trade surplus for the 11th consecutive year at $39.1 billion.

Outbound shipments to FTA partners also decreased at a slower pace of 9.2 percent on-year to $398.4 billion in 2019, compared with the decline of 10.3 percent in overall outbound shipments for the year.

As of last year, Korea has 13 FTAs with various countries or regional blocs, such as the European Union and Asean.

Korea enjoyed the highest trade surplus, of $38.9 billion, with Asean.

More than 95 percent of Korean goods shipped to Canada received FTA benefits, with the EU posting a comparable figure of 86.9 percent and the United States 85.2 percent.

Around 99 percent of imports from Chile received preferential treatment under the trade pact, followed by New Zealand with 93.7 percent, the data showed.

Korea has been making efforts to diversify its trade portfolio, mainly to ease its heavy dependence on the United States and China, which account for 40 percent of its combined exports.

Such an imbalanced portfolio has made Korea one of the major victims of the China-U.S. trade war.

The country’s exports are expected to rebound 3 percent this year, on the back of the recovery of the global chip industry, after suffering a decline of more than 10 percent last year.

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