Korea's Parts & Materials Trade Tops US$428.6 Bil. in 2013
Korea's exports and imports of parts & materials in 2013 increased 3.8% year-on-year to US$263.1 billion and 1.9% year-on-year to US$165.5 billion, respectively.
Of particular note, the export value of the parts and materials industry in 2013 was the highest in history, accounting for 47% of the nation's total industrial export amount (US$559.7 billion). Furthermore, the industry's trade surplus reached US$976 billion, more than double the combined trade surplus of all industries (US$44.1 billion).
By business type, whereas parts & materials export growth in 2013 was led by electronic parts (up 57% year-on-year), electrical machinery parts (up 9%), chemical compounds & products (up 15%) and nonmetallic minerals (up 7%), export declines were witnessed in primary metals (-25%), general machinery parts (-17%) and assembly metal products (-8%) compared with 2012.
In terms of region, the trade balance in 2013 improved over 2012 with emerging markets, Latin America (up 16%), Southeast Asia (up 30%), etc., including China (up 38%).
In 2013, China, Korea's biggest trade partner, became the largest export destination for the parts & materials field with exports of US$91.5 billion. It was analyzed that closer trade relations would be required in the future as trade surpluses continued centering on high value-added business types, such as electronic parts and chemical products.
Korea's parts & materials trade balance with Japan recorded a deficit of US$20.5 billion (exports: US$13.9 billion, imports: US$34.4 billion) in 2013, sustaining the trade imbalance. However, the trade deficit scale in parts & materials declined for the third consecutive year and the import dependence level on Japanese products in the field also recorded a historic low of 20.8% in 2013.
The improvement in Korea's parts & materials trade deficit with Japan owed to the strengthened competitiveness of Korean parts & materials industry, a slowdown in import volume by demand industries like shipbuilding and automobiles and diversification of import sources.
In 2014, Korea's parts & materials industry is expected to realize US$275 billion in exports and US$173.8 billion in imports amid a mild growth trend of the global economy following the recovery of advanced economies.