Exports to new target markets set to hit records in 2021Korea's exports to the so-called New Southern and Northern regions are likely to touch all-time highs in 2021 on Seoul's efforts to deepen economic ties with those regions, the trade ministry said Monday.
Seoul's overseas shipments to the New Southern Region — the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and India -- reached$111.9 billion in the first 11 months of the year, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
In light of that, exports to the region are projected to soar to a fresh high in 2021. Exports to the region passed $100 billion in 2017.
The sharp rise comes as Seoul has been ramping up efforts to expand economic cooperation with those countries for the past four years in a bid to broaden its overseas markets.
Korea's investments in the region came to $36.54 billion from 2018-20, up 72 percent from the previous three years.
Earlier this month, Korea's parliament ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement that covers ASEAN and four countries — China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.
The ministry also predicted South Korea's exports to the New Northern region — Central Asia and Russia — would reach a new high this year, given the current pace.
In the January-November period, Seoul's exports to the region exceeded $12.6 billion. Shipments to those countries, which amounted to a mere $7.2 billion in 2016, almost doubled to $13.8 billion in 2019.
According to the ministry, Korean shipbuilders booked orders to build vessels worth $11.3 billion between 2016 and 2020, and Korean and Russian companies have agreed to cooperate in the automotive sector.
In addition, Seoul is seeking to sign accords on investment and service while making efforts to establish a trade pact with Uzbekistan.