After a record-breaking year in exports, South Korea’s economy is booming. This surge in exports was a side effect of the pandemic, so many exporters are left wondering how sustainable this growth is.
In this post, we are going to discuss export opportunities for South Korea in 2022. We will review South Korea’s exporting success in the past year before we discuss some specific exporting opportunities. We’ll review forecasts and opinions from experts in cross-border trade.
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This past year brought great instability for many people around the world due to COVID-related issues. Despite this instability, South Korea saw significant growth in exports.
In fact, 2021 was a record year for exporting in South Korea. The last quarter of the year saw the value of the export industry triple.1 This growth was due largely in part to the relief that South Korean manufacturers provided after shortages caused by pandemic-related supply chain issues.
According to data from the Trade Ministry, South Korea exported US $60.44 billion worth of goods in November 2021. This is an increase of over 32% from the previous year.2
As we move into 2022, many people are wondering what the future of South Korea’s export market will look like. Unfortunately, there is a good chance that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 may hurt this export-reliant economy.3
As with past waves and variants, there is so much unknown in the near future. Even two years into the pandemic, government organizations are forced to think and act quickly to make the best decisions for their people. Businesses could shut down, and manufacturing could come to a halt.
Although the Omicron poses a lot of uncertainty, we expect that there could still be some opportunities for exporters in South Korea.
Here are a few important variables that will likely create opportunities.
This fall, South Korea implemented a “living with COVID-19” policy to help guide local businesses and individuals to successfully rebound after nearly two years of the pandemic.4
The policy encourages the gradual reopening and reintegration of public businesses that have taken hard hits at the hands of COVID-19. With these reopenings, we expect more opportunities in production, manufacturing, and exporting to emerge.
Unfortunately, parts of this plan have been reversed due to the recent spike in cases. However, once this current surge is under control, we are hopeful that the plan will continue, and more businesses will pick back up with the recovery momentum.
As the world continues to recover from the initial waves of the pandemic, we see growing demands for a variety of products and materials around the world due to shortages.
A rise in Omicron cases could cause further supply chain disruption in different parts of the world. If South Korean exporters continue to satisfy the demands caused by global shortages, this country’s exports will continue to boom.
South Korea is part of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which gives exporters from this country the ability to trade freely with quite a few different nations.5 There is also a United States-Korea free trade agreement (KORUS FTA) which is beneficial to the South Korean export market.6
However, most of South Korea’s trade remains within Asia. China is South Korea’s most prominent trade partner, followed by the United States, Vietnam, the European Union, Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia.7
Now that you know a bit more about the recent growth in the South Korean export market, let’s explore a few of the exports that have led to this success and continue to perpetuate the growth of the South Korean economy.8
The pandemic has caused a major auto chip shortage. South Korea’s ability to produce this type of technology has been crucial in its economy’s growth this fall.
Petrochemicals also played a huge role in the rapid growth of South Korea’s export economy this fall. Petrochemicals are substances that are derived from natural gas, including petroleum oil.
Another popular type of export from South Korea is vehicles. The exports of car components, including piston engine parts, automobile accessories, and rubber tires, is also popular.
South Korea also exports a lot of watercrafts. This includes boats, cargo ships, cruise ships, and barges.
In addition to the chips for computers, South Korea exports a great number of computers and computer accessories.
South Korea is becoming more well-known for its beauty products on a global scale. Some of South Korea’s top exports in the beauty industry include perfumes, makeup, and skincare products.
Several metals occur naturally in South Korea, and many are popular exports. Some of these metals include iron, refined copper, unwrought alloys, unwrought gold, and steel.
South Korea also exports a lot of fabrics, especially knit and crochet fabrics.
Electric machinery is a prominent export in South Korea. In fact, it contributes around US $65.5 billion to the South Korean export market annually.
Plastic is another major export of South Korea. Some of the top plastic products that are exported from Korea include plastic plates, plastic sheets, plastic film, plastic strips, and tape.
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